“Danger!” host Ken Jennings talks about a part of the award-winning game show he never liked, and it seems a lot of fans agree!
The quiz guru, who currently holds the record for winning 74 games in a row, admitted he’s “never liked” the interviews with contestants that happen mid-show, admitting that he “liked them pathetic.”
Ken Jennings Reveals He Finds “Jeopardy!” Candidate Interviews “Cringey”
In a recent interview with the New YorkerTo promote his new book, 100 Places To See After You Die, Ken Jennings revealed he’s not a fan of the candidate interviews, which many fans have criticized in the past.
“I never liked that part,” the 49-year-old host told the publication, admitting that “it’s a little gross.” He went on to say that it’s also an awkward part of the show.
“And even if the players are perfectly telling an amazing anecdote, it’s just not the right time for it, like stopping a football game for Jennifer Lopez or saluting the troops or whatever,” he said. “Why is this happening now?”
He revealed the late host Alex Trebeck I felt the same way about the interviews. “I don’t think Alex loved the interviews,” he said. “I think he was kind of ready to get back in the game.”
During his 74 games in 2004, Ken admitted he also struggled to gather enough information about himself to share with fans around the world.
“And I have nothing but sympathy for it [the contestants]’Cause I didn’t 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 got a call from the attendee coordinator: Hey, just in case you’re recording 10 new shows, can you tell us 20 new stories?”
Ken Says Alex Trebek Made Hosting ‘Look Easy’
Now that he’s hosting, Ken told the New Yorker it’s a “big change” for him. “Becoming a presenter – that’s real show business. Now you can’t pretend,” he said. When the interviewer told him, “You’re very good at it,” Ken replied, “Thanks. I appreciate that.”
“It’s a very tough job and Alex made it look easy. 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,” he continued.
When asked how difficult it was, Ken said that the show’s “speed” was one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. “I can’t stress enough how quick it is and what the presenter has to do sixty-one times per show: read the clue correctly, call the right candidate, judge their answer correctly,” he explained. “And then everything repeats itself.”
When the interviewer stated that he seemed to make the participants feel comfortable, Ken replied, “I always think: How can I make the participants feel comfortable – I don’t know if they’re comfortable, but at least not panicking?” Because I’ve been through it and I know it’s tough. I see the handshake when they try to bet.”
Ken Confirms “Jeopardy!” Writers Strike
Ken also confirmed that “Jeopardy!” writers are on strike during the WGA writers’ strike that has made headlines for the past few weeks. “Yes, they are out now. Luckily we always take a break in May so the scripts were on hold until the end of the season,” he explained. “Now we hope against all hope that the studios will do the right thing and give them a fair deal.”
“Because the writers are the engine that drives Jeopardy! More than the contestants, more than the host, it’s a show about the words. And it has maybe more words every half hour than any other type of show,” he revealed. “Sixty-one of these very dense, concise, carefully written and doubly researched references. It’s almost as if each one is a little haiku or villanelle designed to put the player at just the right level of difficulty and proximity.”
co-host Mayim Bialik was scheduled to host the season’s final week of episodes, but opted out in solidarity with the striking writers. However, Ken stepped in as host in the final week to wrap up the season.