Alex Trebek is still speaking to his audience weeks after his death. Before his passing, Trebek recorded a special Thanksgiving message urging viewers to remember all the things they have to be thankful for despite the coronavirus pandemic and other hardships.
Jeopardy shared Trebek’s message to YouTube, Instagram and Twitter several hours before the holiday episode of the popular game show. Trebek passed away on November 8 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The longtime host and cultural icon was 80 years old. He was survived by his wife Jean, son Matthew and daughters Emily and Nicky.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trebek Expressed Optimism That the Pandemic Was Teaching People to be Kinder to Others
The folks at Jeopardy did not specify when exactly Trebek recorded the Thanksgiving message. Trebek’s voice sounded a bit hoarse in the clip. The Jeopardy team wrote in the description of the video, “High on our list of things to be thankful for this year: Alex’s Thanksgiving message from today’s show. We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!” Trebek said the following:
Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentlemen. You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful. There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors and that’s a good thing. Keep the faith. We’re gonna get through all of this and we will be a better society because of it.
The clip quickly began racking up views. Within two hours of Jeopardy posting it, the video had been watched tens of thousands of times and counting.
Jeopardy viewers also left well-wishes to Trebek’s family and wrote that they were missing the longtime host. @SteveRockyDavis wrote, “Happy Thanksgiving to the wonderful crew of Jeopardy! Alex, we love you, and miss you.”
Twitter user @RudzinskasJ commented, “To Alex Trebek’s Family ~ I Hope You Know Your Husband/Father is Missed by All of US!!!! Thank You for Sharing Him all these Years! Peace be with You and may Alex Rest In Peace.”
@shcro1 described Trebek as “A class act up until the end. Hope he’s resting easy.”
@RyderBarrett wrote, “Didn’t have crying on my list of things to do today and yet here we are.”
Audiences Can Watch New Jeopardy Episodes Featuring Trebek Until the First Week of January
During Trebek’s nearly 40-year reign at Jeopardy, he recorded multiple episodes in a single day. Good Housekeeping reported the team typically taped up to five episodes at a time and episodes were ready for months before the actual air date. According to the magazine, Trebek’s final day of filming was on October 29. He died just over a week later on November 8.
That aggressive filming schedule means viewers will get to enjoy several weeks of new episodes featuring Trebek. The original plan was to showcase the brand new episodes until December 25, as Heavy previously reported.
But Jeopardy has since changed up the schedule. Show executives have decided that during the weeks of December 21 and December 28, Jeopardy will rebroadcast 10 of Trebek’s “best episodes.” It was not immediately clear which years those episodes would be coming from.
Jeopardy explained in a news release that Trebek’s final five episodes will air from January 4 until January 8, 2021. Executives decided to make the change “in order to give his millions of fans a chance to see his final appearances.”
Guest Hosts Such as Ken Jennings Will be Featured on Jeopardy Until a Replacement Is Announced
Jeopardy did not have a permanent replacement ready to fill Trebek’s position. In July 2020, Trebek joked that he would like to see Betty White, who is 98, succeed him as the host. He told Good Morning America, “I joke with the audience all the time and I say, ‘Betty White,’ because they want somebody younger, somebody funnier.”
Instead of naming a replacement, the gameplan at Jeopardy is to bring in guest hosts for the foreseeable future. The show plans to resume filming on November 30 and the first guest host is “Greatest of All Time” champion Ken Jennings. Jennings wrote on Twitter, “There will only ever be one Alex Trebek, but I’m honored to be helping Jeopardy! out with this in January.” Those episodes will begin airing during the week of January 11, 2021.
Executive Producer Mike Richards commented on this plan in a news release: “Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him. 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.