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JEOPARDY! host Ken Jennings got more emotional during his on-air tribute to the late Alex Trebek than viewers were clued in on, an insider has revealed.

Show execs claimed he "teared up" when "beautifully" wrapping Season 38.

Jeopardy! star Ken Jennings paid tribute to his mentor Alex Trebek during the show's season finale last weekCredit: ABC
A show executive claimed he 'teared up' after repeating Alex's closing wordsCredit: Getty

Jeopardy! is currently on summer break and is airing reruns until Season 39 premieres in September 2022.

Ken, 48, and Mayim Bialik, 46 - announced as the show's stars for good - will indeed be split-hosting for years to come.

But Ken remembered his roots when closing up shop.

The former 74-time winner under the legendary Alex looked directly at the camera during the July 31st finale and said: "Thanks for being with us on the Alex Trebek stage folks!"

The TV host concluded: "As Alex used to say: So Long!"

Ken smiled as the other three contestants applauded - but according to the show, it was no dry-eyed sendoff.


Executive producer Michael Davies opened up about the "beautiful moment" on the show's new podcast, Inside Jeopardy!.

On its very first episode, which aired August 1st, Michael shared what fans didn't see.

"We should say that Ken ended the final episode of the season by saying, as Alex used to say, 'So long.'"

"It was a really beautiful moment," he continued. "I saw some moist eyes on the set that day."

Mike took over as showrunner in 2020 following the disgraced Mike Richards' ousting.

The new EP was the one to break that Ken and Mayim would be split-hosting going forward, and along with the insider podcast - has teased "multiple" more spinoffs coming before the new season.

Under Mike Davies, they've also launched a new 24/7 streaming site for vintage Alex episodes and shared that both Ken and Mayim will be referred to as "hosts" going forward.

Previously, Ken was snubbed from the title and was announced as "hosting Jeopardy!" when he walked on stage - which bothered some viewers.


Back in September 2021, Stage 10 at Sony Pictures Studios was renamed in honor of the late host. 

The legendary presenter passing away on November 8, 2020.

Back in March 2019, the TV icon revealed he had Stage IV pancreatic cancer and a tumor that spread to the soft lining of his stomach.

Alex visited Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles for a Computed Tomography (CT) scan.

He shared with the New York Times: "There comes a time where you have to make a decision as to whether you want to continue with such a low quality of life, or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least..."

Before Ken's sweet tribute on the season 38 finale, he seemed to snub the late host on what would have been Alex's 82nd birthday.

The game show's official Twitter, however, wrote about Alex and his birthday after fans called out the program on social media.

However, Ken then brought up Alex in a tweet excited about next season.

Ken wrote: "I’m not a professional broadcaster, obviously.

I still get nerves out there every single show.

But I was lucky enough to watch Alex host Jeopardy! for decades—about as well as the job could possibly be done.

I hope a drop of that Trebekian perfection slips through sometimes."

Alex hosted through Ken's own $2.5M-plus run in 2004 and they seemed to love sharing the stage.


Ken will host the regularly airing TV show, which is expected to start taping in August, from September 2022 to January.

Mayim will then take over the reins in January and host until the end of the season - as much as she can film.

The Big Bang Theory actress will balance her hosting duties while filming her Fox comedy, Call Me Kat.

Mayim will also host Celebrity Jeopardy! and the special tournaments, while Ken will host the Second Chance Tournament - the cast of which was announced yesterday - and the Tournament of Champions.

Jeopardy!'s EP Mike Davies said there were 'a lot of moist eyes on-set' when Ken Jennings remembered Alex TrebekCredit: Getty
Ken was a contestant under the late host - who passed away in 2020 - before being selected as a host himselfCredit: Getty
Ken & Mayim will both be introduced as 'the host' next season instead of Ken as 'hosting Jeopardy!'Credit: ABC