The “Greatest of All Time” champion, who beat out fellow brainiacs James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter for the coveted title of GOAT, will see his role with the cherished quiz show increased substantially, becoming a consulting producer when all-new episodes began airing for Season 37 on Sept. 14.
And fans of the iconic program should fret not as venerable host Alex Trebek, 80, will also retain his front-facing duties despite his harrowing battle and ongoing treatments for stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Season 37 episodes have already begun taping with advanced COVID-19 protocols in effect that include virtual casting for prospective contestants, additional space between in-studio contestants and a “safe distance” between them and Trebek, Sony Pictures Television said in a statement.
“On a personal level, I’m excited because it gets me out of the house,” Trebek said in an announcement of the new season from Sony. “It gives me something to do on a regular basis, and I was missing that.”
For his expanded role, Jennings, 46, will “present his own special video categories, develop projects, assist with contestant outreach, and serve as a general ambassador for the show,” the studio said, which immediately sparked rumors the show was “grooming” Jennings to eventually overtake hosting duties from Trebek whenever the legend orator chooses to bow out.
Trebek provided an update on his condition to concerned fans in July.
“I’m doing well,” he said at the conclusion of the video to the world while sporting a fresh quarantine goatee. “I’ve been continuing my treatment and it is paying off. Though it does fatigue me a great deal, my numbers are good. I’m feeling great. In fact, during the break from the studio, I even wrote a book that will be coming out July 21st.”
In January, at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fox News asked Trebek what he wishes his legacy to be and he said that he simply wanted to be remembered as “a nice guy,” and that “he was the best kind of quiz show host in that he always seemed to be rooting for the contestants.”