New 'Jeopardy!' Producer Ken Jennings Says Alex Trebek's Health Is Top Priority as Filming Resumes

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By RADIO.COM

Contestants will no longer get one-on-one facetime with “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

The game show is implementing changes amid the coronavirus pandemic that will minimize Trebek’s interactions with players.

Ken Jennings, a former contestant who won the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” tournament in January, will be taking on the role of consulting producer for the show’s 37th season.

Ahead of his new role and the game show's premiere, he told "Good Morning America" that Trebek will no longer approach players right after the first commercial break to mingle with them.

“Trebek will stay at the host’s podium, instead of coming over to the contestants because Alex’s health is priority No. 1 on that set,” Jennings explained to the outlet.

“He’s the last of the old-school broadcasters — the way he’s in people’s homes every night,” Jennings said. “People feel like he’s part of the family. I know he’s raring to go. He was not happy about the slightly longer-than-usual Jeopardy! hiatus. He’s excited to be back.”

“Jeopardy!” shut down production in March due to the novel virus. It aired its first new episode on September 14.

The 80-year-old falls into the high-risk category for contracting the virus because of his age and his cancer battle. In March 2019, he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and has been openly updating fans on his health and progress.

For these reasons, the show has made it a top priority to keep Trebek safe and distanced.

The show's official Instagram account noted other changes including socially distanced judges' table, a new lectern, and no audience. Taping will also be limited to two days a week.

During another chat with GMA, Trebek himself said they’ve “redesigned our set to separate the contestants and myself a little bit more from them."

“So we are taking all kinds of precautions. Our testing procedure now is done online,” he added.

Trebek has been hosting the show since 1984.

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