Alex Trebek didn’t think his final taped episode of Jeopardy! — which will air this evening — would be his last, revealed the executive producer of the series, Mike Richards.
In an interview with Deadline, Richards said that Trebek was planning to return to work to resume filming, after admitting he did not feel well.
“He was planning on hosting the show the next week, that was his focus. And then when he wasn’t feeling well, he told me, ‘I am not going to be able to come this coming Monday, Tuesday but let’s look at the following Monday and Tuesday’; those were the days we shot. That was as late as Thursday of the week he passed away. He passed away Sunday morning,” Richards explained.
As for the episode, there will be no personal message from the host, as he did not know he would not be returning to work.
Instead, after he signs off and the credits roll, there will follow a tribute honoring Trebek’s Jeopardy! legacy.
The only time during these final episodes that the host directly addressed the audience was at the top of the Monday, January 4 show.
There, reported The Inquisitr, he made a heartfelt plea for kindness toward others. This statement was taped 10 days prior to his passing on November 8.
He spoke directly to the camera and reminded viewers that one month before, he had asked them to take a moment and give thanks for all of the blessings that they enjoyed in their lives. He called the holiday season one of giving and said he understood that although people wanted to be generous with their families, friends, and loved ones, they should go one step further.
He said he wanted them to open up their hands and hearts to those who were still suffering due to COVID-19 through no fault of their own.
“We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society. If we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there,” Trebek said.
This comment reportedly came on the spur of the moment, said the executive producer to Deadline.
Ken Jennings will be the first guest host after Trebek’s sign-off this week. Jennings was named the “Greatest of All Time” in a series of prime-time shows alongside players Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer. Jennings holds the record for most consecutive games won, 74, and highest winnings in a regular-season of play, totaling $2,520,700, per a press release.
“Ken stepped in and did a great job for us as a guest host,” Richards said to Deadline. “We will have a series of guest hosts throughout the spring.”