Alex Trebek’s Final 'Jeopardy!' Episode Will Include One Last Special Tribute Before Credits Roll

Zee Krstic
·4 min read

From Good Housekeeping

  • Alex Trebek's final episode is scheduled to air on ABC this Friday, January 8, at its local listing time in each market.

  • This week's episodes included a special message from Alex on the COVID-19 pandemic, and his final episode may contain more heartfelt wishes tied to the holiday season.

  • Producers say there will be one final tribute to the host before the end of the show on Friday.

Longtime Jeopardy! fans haven't been keen to reach this moment, but show host Alex Trebek's final episodes are airing this week, as they were pre-recorded in October — just weeks before his death due to pancreatic cancer in early November. And while fans have had two months' worth of episodes, and an entire week-long special over the holidays to rewatch some of Alex's best moments on the show, Jeopardy! producers have planned one last tribute for the iconic host of 37 seasons.

During Monday's episode of Jeopardy!, viewers were touched and moved by Alex's special message that aired at the top of the show, which felt extremely timely despite being filmed so many weeks ago. The 80-year-old host reminded audiences of his wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday — to "take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives" — before making a new request of everyone watching.

"Now, today, a different kind of message: This is the season of giving," he said during Monday's airing. "I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones, but today, I'd like for you to go one step further. I'd like to open up your hands and open up your heart to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19… We're trying to build a gentler, kinder society. And if we all pitch in, just a little bit, we're going to get there."

The speech, which wasn't pre-planned or on any of the producer's radars, came just 11 days after an intense bout of intestinal surgery, according to Today. "He was an absolute warrior… It was herculean, [Alex] was in enormous pain, he was 10 days away from passing away, and yet you won't sense any of that in these episodes," said Mike Richards, the show's executive producer, in a live Today segment.

Because the show was taped in advance, Alex's final taped episode was scheduled to appear on Christmas Day. While producers shifted the airing schedule to make room for a Jeopardy! weeklong travel recap special in December, there's a chance that Alex's final episode may have additional tidings or a Christmas-inspired message tied to it due to scheduling. So far, the show's team has kept full details of Alex's inevitable sign off somewhat vague.

During the same Today segment, however, NBC reporter Anne Thompson said that the show is planning a special ending for Alex's final episode. "Friday's episode will be a regular show, but at the end, there will be a tribute to Alex Trebek," she shared. "And then, Jeopardy! looks forward with a series of guest hosts starting with former champ, Ken Jennings."

Alex's final episode will indeed kick off and feel just like many of the episodes viewers have been keeping up with so far this week. Neither the show's team nor Alex was aware that these shows would be his last, as Richards told Today, an the episode won't feel different at first. Fans who play through the entire live episode, however, will be treated to that tribute just before the show's credits.

We can't be sure what exactly Alex's final tribute will look like, but current ABC listings show that Jeopardy! will air at its normal timeslot in each region and will conclude at its thirty-minute mark. Be sure to check your local listings to catch Alex's final episode of Jeopardy! airing this Friday, January 8th.

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