Ken Jennings reveals the hardest part of hosting Jeopardy!

“Danger!” host Ken Jennings was praised by fans for the way he hosted the show after the late show Alex Trebeck.

After the beloved host died of pancreatic cancer, Ken was the first guest host to take over and is now co-hosting the show alongside The Big Bang Theory alumni Mayim Bialik.

Though fans have welcomed the author of 100 Places to See After You Die, Ken revealed what he finds most challenging about hosting the award-winning game show.

‘Danger!’ Host Ken Jennings reveals the hardest part of hosting the show

Ken Jennings at ABC Television's 2020 TCA Winter Press Tour

In an interview with the New Yorker, the popular game show host addressed the most difficult aspect of hosting the show, claiming that the game’s speed and repetitive nature made it look more difficult to host than it was on TV.

“It’s the speed,” Ken explained. “I can’t stress enough how quick it is and what the presenter has to do sixty-one times per show: read the clue flawlessly, call the right candidate, judge their answer correctly.” And then it all repeats itself.”

“It’s a very tough job and Alex made it look easy,” he continued. “So it’s kind of a no-win thing – the only other person we’ve ever seen looked incredibly confident and graceful for 37 years and we all loved him.”

Ken reveals that Alex Trebek made a lot of calls “on the fly”.

Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!
Instagram / Danger

When asked if Ken is the one to decide if the contestants are correct in their answer, Ken replied, “There’s a jury to appeal to. But in practice, Alex made a lot of those decisions on the spur of the moment, simply because he knew the game and knew it had to move on. And you are also in a difficult position.”

“You’re the arbiter of the game and sort of manage the players, but you also manage the studio audience and the home crowd,” he explained. “They are the stadium announcer and the play-by-play guy in the dressing room. You try to do everything.”

“And it turns out the best way to do that is to just play the game as if you were a participant. I kind of play along in my head and I’m like, “Oh, I know that!” Let’s see if they know. Hey they do, great! We made it! It starts again! And I don’t know if that’s right – it’s definitely not because of Alex’s energy, but no one can do what he did,” he added.

Ken Jennings says he tries to make participants feel like they’re not panicking as they play

Danger!  Stage with Ken Jennings
Instagram / Danger

Despite this, Ken tries to support the participants because he was in their position. “I always ask myself, ‘How can I make the participants — I don’t know if they’re comfortable, but at least not panic?’ Because I’ve experienced that and I know it’s tough,” he said he. “I see hands shaking when they try to bet.”

“And they know it’s a momentous moment,” he admitted, recognizing that it’s one of the “hardest parts” of the game. “The good thing is that you can take an afternoon and research online and find out how to bet Final Jeopardy.”

“If you know four or five cases and can train your brain to create this flowchart, you can be ready,” he explained. “That means it’s a melting pot, and sometimes people get things wrong.”

Ken jokes that he was a “know-it-all” from a young age

Ken Jennings at ABC Television's Winter Press Tour 2020 - arrived

Elsewhere in the interview, the former “Chaser” was recognized on game show The Chase for his personality, which is flaunted on social media and while he hosts the show. “I knew from a young age that you have to be a know-it-all. You can tell right away that America doesn’t like that, that knowing Captain Kirk’s middle name isn’t a hit with the girls in the class,” joked Ken.

“To this day, I still carry some of that shame in a healthy way that I think chemically transformed into confidence.” It’s a bit silly knowing this weird stuff, but we can have a good time with it,” he continued. “It’s better than not knowing, isn’t it?”

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