Alex Trebek died earlier this month after a battle with pancreatic cancer, but the Jeopardy! host filmed a number of episodes before his death that will continue to air through December, including a Thanksgiving episode in which he shared a poignant message with viewers. "Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentlemen," Trebek began. "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," he continued. "Keep the faith; we're gonna get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it." "High on our list of things to be thankful for this year: Alex's Thanksgiving message from today's show," the show's social media accounts captioned the clip. "We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!"
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Trebek filmed Jeopardy! up until 10 days before his death, and his final episode will air in January. The host of the daily syndicated version of Jeopardy! since its premiere in 1984, Trebek hosted more than 8,200 shows over 37 seasons. The show returns to production on Nov. 30 and will be hosted by a series of interim guest hosts until a permanent replacement can be found.
The first of those hosts will be Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak on Jeopardy! with 74 consecutive games won and is the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, having earned $2,520,700 in regular play.
"Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy! and always said that he wanted the show to go on after him," Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement, via The Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Trebek's last episodes of the show will air the week of Jan. 4, followed by Jennings' first episodes as host, which will air the week of Jan. 11. Instead of airing Trebek's last episodes during the holidays, the weeks of Dec. 21 and 28 will see 10 of Trebek's best episodes from his time as host of the show.