'Jeopardy!' Starts New Episode With Alex Trebek Tribute

Monday marked the first Jeopardy! episode to air following the sudden passing of host Alex Trebek. Having battled through stage 4 pancreatic cancer since his diagnosis in March 2019, Trebek continued to film for more than a year and a half in Culver City. He worked up until 10 days before his passing and episodes starring him will run up until Dec. 25.

The show paid tribute to him before Monday’s episode as Mike Richards, the executive producer of the Jeopardy!, provided an opening monologue to pay the final respects on behalf of the show for the “beloved” host. “This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family and for his millions of fans,” Richards began. “He loved this show and everything it stood for.” Richards then confirmed what reports had suggested the day prior that Trebek did, in fact, continue to film no less than two weeks ago.

Trebek held his position on Jeopardy! for 37 seasons and hosted more than 8,200 episodes, a figure that Sony Pictures said is the most all-time by a host on one show. “He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness and for his love of his family,” Richards went on to say. The show has 35 more episodes to air that include Trebek. “On behalf of everyone here at Jeopardy!, thank you for everything Alex. This is Jeopardy.”

Trebek, who was 80-years-old at the time of his passing and surrounded by his loved ones at the time, left a lasting impression on all of the people who worked with over the years. Among the more heartbroken over his loss was one of the show’s greatest winners and recent co-worker of Trebek’s, Ken Jennings. The Greatest of All-Time Tournament winner wrote a piece for TIME on Monday, “He was part of the fabric of America’s evening.” Jennings, who grew up watching Jeopardy! as a kid, said his calming voice made him a part of his family and for the millions of people who watched him five nights a week for five decades.