Ken Jennings reveals the cringey part of Jeopardy! he never liked

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“Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings is just there for the trivia.

During an interview with the New Yorker published Thursday, Jennings revealed that he isn’t a big fan of the show’s contestant interviews, which occur in the middle of the “Jeopardy! round.”

“I never liked that part,” the 49-year-old, who is also the winningest “Jeopardy!” contestant of all time, told the outlet.

“It’s a little cringey,” he continued. “And, even if the players tell an amazing anecdote perfectly, I mean, that’s just not the time for it, like when they interrupt a football game for Jennifer Lopez or to salute the troops or whatever. Like, why is this happening now?”

And it turns out he isn’t the only person who dislikes that segment of the show. Jennings said former host Alex Trebek also wanted to just keep the questions flowing.

“I don’t think Alex loved the interviews,” he said. “I think he was kind of ready to get back in the game.”

Not only does Jennings find the interviews a little strange, but he also struggled to come up with enough stories to keep up with his 74-game win streak while on the show in 2004.

“And I have nothing but sympathy for [the contestants], because I did not have seventy-five good stories. I didn’t have three good stories,” he joked. “Every time I had to fly to LA to do more shows, I’d get a call from the contestant coordinator: Hey, just in case you tape ten new shows, can you give us twenty new stories?”

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Jennings has been sharing hosting duties with Mayim Bialik, 47, since Trebek died in November 2020 following a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The “100 Places to See After You Die” author, who won over $2.5 million during his stint on the game show, says the transition from contestant to host has been a bit of a challenge because Trebek set the bar so high.

“It’s a very hard job, and Alex made it look easy,” he explained. “So it’s kind of a no-win thing—the only other person we’ve seen do it looked incredibly confident and graceful for thirty-seven years, and we all loved him.”

Jennings says the biggest learning curve was figuring out the “speed” of the show while simultaneously acting as the “referee” and the “announcer” at the same time.

“It’s hard to overstate how fast it moves and the mechanics of what the host has to do sixty-one times a show: read the clue flawlessly, call on the right contestant, adjudicate their response correctly. And then it all repeats.”

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