Today marks the end of an era. Two months after Alex Trebek passed away following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, the game show host’s final Jeopardy! episode, which was recorded days before his death, is airing. Naturally a lot of Jeopardy! fans are sad that this chapter of the game show’s history is closing, but appropriately, a touching tribute for Trebek was shown as this milestone episode made its way to the airwaves.
Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy! for nearly 40 years, with his first episode airing on September 10, 1984. Below, you can watch a compilation of his long tenure on the popular game show to the tune of “Once Before I Go” from the jukebox musical The Boy from Oz. Warning: have some tissues nearby to wipe away your tears.
Ok, I’m a little choked up now. Distilling the essence of Alex Trebek’s decades of hosting Jeopardy! into less than 90 seconds is a daunting prospect, but this video manages to do it quite wonderfully and pack in all the feels. From his earliest years when he still rocking the iconic mustache, to his later clean-shaven days, Trebek did a lot on Jeopardy!, including getting into amusing conversations with contestants, dressing up to present clues and even bringing his children on stage a few times. It’s enough to make anyone emotional, especially if you watch it immediately after Trebek’s powerful message that aired on Monday.
This is just the latest of many tributes for Alex Trebek in the months following his passing. For instance, in early December, Google found its own unique way to honor the man, while just today, Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak fondly looked back at Trebek’s Jeopardy! legacy, and Jeopardy! contestant James Holzhauer shared an epic, yet heartfelt farewell to the host on social media. Even Ryan Reynolds passed along a touching message about Trebek, which is fitting not just because the actor recently presented some clues on Jeopardy!, but also because the game show host has a posthumous appearance in Reynolds’ upcoming movie Free Guy.
Originally the plan was for Alex Trebek’s final Jeopardy! episodes to air during the week of Christmas 2020. However, Jeopardy! producer Michael Richards later explained it was decided to move them to the first full week of January 2021 because with people celebrating the holidays and NBA games being televised, they wanted to be sure that Trebek’s last Jeopardy! hurrah could be truly savored by viewers. According to Richards, Trebek was an “absolute warrior” during the filming of his final episodes.
As for what Jeopardy! has in store for the immediate future, starting January 11, the show will be hosted by a series of guest hosts. 74-time Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings will be the first of the bunch, and TV journalist Katie Couric will follow after. There’s no word yet on when we’ll learn who Jeopardy!’s new permanent host will be, although shortly after Trebek’s death, the internet pitched LeVar Burton as a potential replacement.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news about Jeopardy! Learn what else is airing on TV now or in the near future with our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.