It was over for Ken Jennings before he even began.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the “Jeopardy!” champ was all set to take over Alex Trebek’s spot after the longtime host passed away in November 2020 — until people went digging into his Twitter history.
Jennings, 47, has since apologized for the posts — describing them as “unartful and insensitive” in an open apology — including a tasteless joke that read: “nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”
The WSJ further reported that Jennings had apparently scored low on the audience’s charisma meter, saying focus groups reportedly “didn’t react well” to the idea of seeing Jennings at the podium following the tweet revelations.
Nevertheless, Jennings was given a fair shot in the run-up to replace Trebek, who hosted the game show 36 years until he died at age 80 from pancreatic cancer. But Jennings’ two-week stint at the helm wasn’t enough to erase his past social media misgivings.
At the news that “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards would get the job, Jennings told The Ringer, “Obviously I’m disappointed with how this process played out, but I’d rather look ahead,” while adding, “I plan to be with the show as long as they’ll have me, no matter who’s hosting.”
With Richards now, too, booted from the gig — amid his own legal and social media messes — the show is set to commence another round of guest hosts. Richards, 46, also reportedly apologized to staff last week as they resume plans to find the next face to lead “Jeopardy!” into the future.
In a note to staff, Richards wrote, “I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing.”
Jennings remains best known as the “Jeopardy!” winner who outlasted in the game with 74 consecutive wins back in 2004 and still holds the record for the longest winning streak in the show’s history.