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'Jeopardy!' co-host Ken Jennings on why he cried before a studio audience at season premiere

Jennings said "people just went bonkers"
Ken Jennings, Watson
Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 19:28:36-04

The long-running television quiz show "Jeopardy!" has filmed episodes for 39 seasons of the show as it works to bounce back after a years-long COVID-19 pandemic and the death of beloved long-time host Alex Trebek who died in November 2020 from pancreatic cancer.

Successful former contestant Ken Jennings now co-hosts the show for tapings, sharing the duties with actress and fellow co-host Mayim Bialik.

Jennings told of a recent taping where he became emotional while walking out into the studio before a live audience. Something that was missing during tapings amid the months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jennings told Good Morning America, "That first game of this season, I walked out, and people just went bonkers, and I just started to cry," Yahoo! Entertainment reported.

"This game means so much to people. And there was just this visceral wave of love and energy. I'll be thinking about that for the rest of my life," he said.

Jennings and Bialik sat down for the interview just after it was announced that they would share permanent show host duties.

"I feel like Alex's presence is here, and it is," Bialik said. "It's in the words that we heard him say for so many decades. But I think also, like, wanting to more kind of imitate the feeling that he created on the stage for the contestants and for the audience."

The two were selected after months of working to find the right replacement for Trebek.

Former "Jeopardy!" Executive Producer Mike Richards served as host briefly before leaving the show after offensive comments he made on a podcast before joining the show surfaced online.

Jennings holds the record for most consecutive wins on "Jeopardy!" at 74.