In a new interview, Danger! host Ken Jennings broke the big news about playing as a contestant again and gave a clear reason for his decision.
The current rules of Danger! states that once someone has hosted the long-running show, they are no longer eligible to compete. However, show executive producer Michael Davies, who came on board in 2021 after the exit of Mike Richards, previously said he would make an exception to see the best plays again.
But Jennings, who won 74 straight games in 2004, has no interest in playing again, even if Davies breaks the rules. Talking to Deseret News, Jennings confirmed his Danger! playing days are over, and James Holzhauer is the reason why.
“Let me be very clear and aware here: It’s because I’m terrified to play James because I think he’s going to win,” Jennings said, referring to the recent Danger! MASTERS champion.
“I’m very happy to be retired Danger! because I think I got away with one at the GOAT tournament,” he continued. “And I think there’s a very good chance he’d wipe the floor with me if we ever had to play again. So I feel very lucky to be retired – there will be no rematch.”
Jennings defeated Holzhauer and Brad Rutter in 2020 Danger! The greatest tournament of all time. During MASTERS at the tournament, Holzhauer teased Jennings, even using one of his Final Jeopardy answers to call out the host for “avoiding a rematch”.
As for Rutter, he recently reunited with Jennings to take part in the #crackcancer challenge. In a video (watch below) shared on Rutter’s social media, Jennings cracks an egg over his former opponent’s head – Holzhauer did the same with Jennings at the end MASTERS tournament.
ok ok @James_Holzhauer #crackcancer pic.twitter.com/4xZMaLB1iw
— Brad Rutter (@bradrutter) June 15, 2023
But as Jennings puts his competitive days behind him, he continues to focus on being a better host. In his interview with Deseret News, credited his wife, Mindy, for giving him the confidence when he first took the gig. He even said that he would make sure to watch the show every night at home.
“And I’d be like, ‘Why are you watching Jeopardy?! I’m not in the office, do we have to have this on this?’” Jennings said. “She wanted to follow me daily Danger! Maybe I wasn’t supportive. … I love Jeopardy! so did I when I was a kid, but I can’t look at it the same way I did when I was a kid.”
He added: “She was always like a real calming presence to me. Like the first day I was filling in for Alex, I called home and she said, “Well, how did it go?” And I said, “Well, let me put it this way: I’m not Alex Trebek up there.” And she said, “Well, you know what? Maybe on his first day, he wasn’t either. And I really needed to hear that right then.”
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