Ken Jennings Welcomes First Michigan Player to Compete on Jeopardy Since Alex Trebek’s Death
A Michigan native is set to appear on Jeopardy, becoming the first contestant from our state to compete on the game show during Ken Jennings' reign as interim host.
Gautham Nagesh is a native of Jackson, Michigan, and will appear on tonight's installment of the show, Jennings' fifth as guest host since Alex Trebek's tragic death in November. Jeopardy airs locally at 7 pm on WNEM TV-5.
Nagesh, who now lives in East Hollywood, California, tells M-Live that his appearance on Jeopardy was fraught with false starts. He got the initial call to appear on the show when he was visiting his parents in Michigan.
"My dad was having a retirement party when they called me to be on the show. So, I cut my trip short," he tells M-Live. "This was in November. I got COVID tested twice and the day before my taping they told us the show was cancelled. Obviously, it was related to Trebek’s health.”
Nagesh says he didn't have another opportunity to play, but got a call from the show's producers in December, before it was revealed that Jennings would be the first guest host.
He was present on the day of Jennings' first taping.
“It was really cool to see Ken’s first episodes. He gave that speech that was aired which made pretty much everyone in the studio tear up,” Nagesh told M-Live. “Trebek has impossible shoes to fill, but given how hard a task it is, I thought he really did a good job.”