Before the episode, the Jeopardy! Twitter account shared a tribute video, made up of clips of Trebek through the years while Peter Allen‘s “Once Before I Go” played in the background. At the end of the video, set to air at the end of Friday’s episode, the screen read, “Dedicated to Alex Trebek. Forever in our hearts. Always our inspiration.”
The host taped his final episode in late October, just 10 days before his death. He ended the episode with his traditional sign-off, telling the audience, “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for spending the time with us. We’ll see you again next week.”
The game show confirmed via Twitter that the Canadian TV personality had died at age 80 on November 8, 2020, after his battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex,” the social media post read.
Sony Pictures Television later confirmed that episodes that featured Trebek, who was last seen in the studio in October 2020, would continue to air through the holiday season. “The show is not announcing plans for a new host at this time,” the production company stated in a press release shortly after news of Trebek’s passing made headlines.
While no permanent decisions were confirmed, producers announced a series of guest hosts to fill the role, beginning with Jeopardy! all-star Ken Jennings, whose first episode will air on Monday, January 11. Katie Couric is also reportedly in talks to appear as an interim host.
“Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him,” executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement in November 2020. “We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”
Trebek began hosting the nightly quiz show when it was revived in 1984 and continued for 37 seasons. In March 2019, he came forward with the news of his cancer diagnosis but remained positive about his treatment plan.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer,” he said in a YouTube video at the time. “Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m gonna fight this and I’m gonna keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Nearly one year later, the former To Tell the Truth host revealed that he had already rehearsed his final appearance on Jeopardy!
“It will be a significant moment,” Trebek said on Good Morning America in January. “I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people: ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.'”
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