'Jeopardy!' EP Mike Richards opens up about Alex Trebek's final episode

·2 min read

As Alex Trebek's last taped episode of "Jeopardy!" airs tonight, the show's executive producer Mike Richards is opening up about the game show host's final days on set.

Trebek, who continued working throughout his lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, taped his final episode of "Jeopardy!" just 10 days before his death on Nov. 8..

"I didn't know how much pain he was in, but obviously he was battling," Richards said in an interview that appeared on "Good Morning America" on Friday.

MORE: Ken Jennings reflects on one of his final conversations with Alex Trebek

"For me, it was just emotional that he was there back at his lectern doing what he loved to do. And and that's what was so special about it," he continued.

Richards explained that since Trebek's death was unexpected, his final show will be a "normal 'Jeopardy!' episode" filled with his uncanny wit and humor. Then, the credits will roll and Trebek will close as normal.

"He didn't know it was going to be his last show, the contestants didn't know, we didn't know," Richards shared. "He signs off and says, we'll see you next time, so you'll see a man at the peak of his powers."

The last time Trebek addressed viewers directly was in his taped opening message that aired Monday evening, when the first of his final five "Jeopardy!" episodes kicked off. In it, the game show host urged viewers to show compassion during the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: Alex Trebek delivers powerful message on unity to kick off week of final 'Jeopardy!' episodes

"Open up your hands, and open up your heart to those still suffering with COVID-19," he told viewers. "People who are suffering through no fault of their own. We're trying to build a gentler kinder society and if we all pitch in just a little bit -- we'll get there."

Richards said the crew didn't know that message was coming. "I think he was trying to lift us up as bad as he felt he was there with that speech, trying to lift us up," he shared.

Starting next week, "Jeopardy!" super champ Ken Jennings will be one of several guest hosts who will take over "for the foreseeable future," according to a statement Richards tweeted in late November.

'Jeopardy!' EP Mike Richards opens up about Alex Trebek's final episode originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com