Alex Trebek's final episodes hosting Jeopardy! will air this week, culminating with a special tribute to the longtime host. Scheduled to air from Monday, Jan. 4 through Friday, Jan. 8, the last five episodes to feature Trebek were filmed in November. Despite the complications of his stage 4 pancreatic cancer and the side effects of its treatments, Trebek had insisted on hosting the show for as long as possible, ultimately dying just ten days after wrapping his final batch of episodes.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Mike Richards also says the first of the final five episodes will include a special speech from Alex Trebek. "On that first episode, he walked out, and you'll see it when it airs, he gives this amazing speech about the holidays and coming together and being strong and taking care of each other. And we didn't know he was gonna do that; he just walked out and did it," Richards explained.
Originally, Trebek's final episodes were scheduled to air during the week of Christmas. This was changed by Richards and the Jeopardy! team in order to give Alex Trebek's last moments on-air the attention they truly deserve.
"The week of Christmas is crazy," Richards said. "We wanted our fans and the fans of Alex to be able to really not feel stressed to see his final episodes, and really savor those last five... I've studied his performance at a very intense level, and I wanted to really get everything I could out of watching him do it one last time. And I feel that his fans would want to be able to have the same opportunity."
Losing Trebek came as a painful shock for Jeopardy! fans. Trebek had been hosting the series since 1984, stepping in as the first host of the rebooted version of the classic game show. His presence on television screens five nights a week in the decades since have made him almost feel like a part of the family for many who watched. For his work on the show, Trebek was awarded seven Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy Awards and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In March 2019, Trebek revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The news was very grim, though Trebek vowed to fight the disease to the best of his abilities for as long as he could. Though he would continue to feel worse as his illness progressed, Trebek would also insist that he continue working as the host of Jeopardy! for as long as that was physically possible. He shared a one-year video update with fans in March 2020 celebrating his first year of survival, expressing his hope to provide a similar update in March 2021. Trebek died on Nov. 8 at the age of 80.
Trebek might be gone, but there's no doubt that he'll never be forgotten. To catch his final episodes hosting Jeopardy!, they'll be airing Jan. 4 through Jan. 8, and you can check your local listings at Jeopardy.com. This news comes to us from Entertainment Weekly.