Is Ken Jennings trying to prove he’d be the perfect permanent host for Jeopardy! after the death of long-time host Alex Trebek? One tabloid insists that Jenning’s current status as temporary interim host will soon lead to him taking over the show entirely. Gossip Cop examined the article and can explain how recent controversies surrounding Jennings’ online activities might affect his chances of landing the gig officially.
This week’s issue of OK! reports that legendary Jeopardy! contestant and interim host Ken Jennings is hoping to parlay his temporary role into something more permanent. There are several issues that stand in the way of Jennings’ alleged ambitions, a source tells the outlet, but there is also one very strong factor in his favor: the approval of recently passed host Alex Trebek.
Alex had suggested Ken as his replacement before he passed away. So when he begins taping his live shows, he will do so knowing he had Alex’s blessing.
“Hosting Jeopardy! is a dream come true for Ken,” the insider continues, with the tabloid incorrectly listing Salt Lake City, Utah as Jennings’ home. Jennings actually lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two children. Regardless of the error, the tabloid presses on. “Alex noted there was no one more worthy of taking over,” the source adds. “Ken’s position may not be permanent, but there’s a good chance he’ll eventually land the official gig.”
Alex always had a soft spot for the guy. He saw the genius in him.
In a section titled “Controversial Choice,” the outlet notes several scandals Jennings has been involved with, including recently resurfaced tweets that some have deemed ableist. “A small faction feels Ken is too cocky and self-motivated to carry the torch,” the insider says, explaining, “He has a weird sense of humor and his jokes can come off as cruel.” After a talk with Trebek, however, Jennings learned the “error of his ways, and Ken’s said sorry for the hurt his words caused.”
The insider goes on to say, “Ken had a heart to heart with Alex before he passed away, and they made a secret pact.” Trebek supposedly made Jennings promise “to keep the integrity of Jeopardy! Alive, to put the audience first, and be professional at all times, and of course, Ken gave him his word.”
Word is, Ken’s vowed, ‘I won’t let Alex’s fans or my family down.’
In conclusion, the snitch insists, “He’s matured a lot and wants to pay homage to Alex’s legacy by putting out the game show he would’ve wanted, full of gentle humor, intelligence and warmth.” That’s not quite a promise that aged well, if it was a promise made at all. Gossip Cop wouldn't put it past OK! to have completely made up the entire tale, including the testimony from the so-called "insider."
The tabloid touches on some of Ken Jennings' past social media blunders, which include a joke about how "sad" it is to see an attractive person in a wheelchair, a joke he later admitted was "inept." More recently, Jennings came under fire for supporting "bean dad," otherwise known as podcaster John Roderick, who co-co-hosts the podcast Omnibus with Jennings. Roderick gained instant notoriety after sharing an anecdote about teaching his 9-year-old daughter to use a can opener in a "teaching moment" exercise that took close to six hours and left the girl crumpled on the floor in tears out of frustration.
Further dives through Roderick's Twitter page revealed "anti-Semitic" tweets and other unsavory content that offended some users. Jennings soon found himself immersed in yet another Twitter controversy after coming to Roderick's defense. Whether this ongoing scandal will affect Jennings' chances at becoming Alex Trebek's permanent replacement is yet to be seen, but it's clear that OK!'s insistence that Jennings is a shoo-in for the role is a bit premature.
It certainly doesn't help this tabloid's case that its sister outlet, the National Enquirer, has made similar claims about Ken Jennings' future as the host of Jeopardy!. At the time Gossip Cop first came across the story, it was also deemed a premature prediction since Trebek was still alive. Besides, the outlet had already made another bold prediction about the future of the popular trivia show, claiming Matthew McConaughey was in talks to become Trebek's Jeopardy! replacement. The actor's rep denied the rumors, which put an end to themthat. While there's still a chance that Jennings will go on to lead the show, there's enough doubt with this latest controversy to mark the issue as complicated as they come.
Gossip Cop cannot come to a verdict either way.