The next batch of Jeopardy! episodes slated to arrive on Netflix highlights one of the most heroic champions in the show's history. The Cindy Stowell Collection includes Stowell's entire run on the series from 2016. The Austin, Texas science content developer competed while secretly battling stage 4 colon cancer and died before her episodes aired.
The special collection will be released on Netflix on Friday, Feb. 28, reports TV Insider. The collection also includes Seth Wilson's 12-game winning streak from 2016 and episodes featuring tributes to host Alex Trebek.
Stowell won more than $100,000 on Jeopardy! and donated her winnings to the Cancer Research Institute, the New York Times reports. She died just a few days before her episodes aired, and she sadly became the first posthumous Jeopardy! champion.
After her final episode aired, Trebek paid tribute to Stowell, whose dream was to appear on the show.
"For the past six Jeopardy! programs, you folks have been getting to know the talented champion, Cindy Stowell. Appearing on the show was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition for that lady," Trebek said. "So, from all of us here at Jeopardy!, our sincere condolences to her family and her friends."
Stowell feared she would not get to appear on Jeopardy! before her death. After she passed the online contestant test, she reportedly asked a producer to speed up the auditions since she just received a terminal diagnosis. Her first four episodes were filmed on Aug. 31, 2016, but was hospitalized for a blood infection. Filming did not resume until Sept. 13. Before her death on Dec. 5, 2016, Jeopardy! producers sent her a DVD of her first three episodes to watch before her death.
"She really saw it as a personal challenge to test herself in this forum that she watched and loved," Stowell's longtime boyfriend, Jason Hess, told the Times in 2016. "She said going in that her main objective was not to embarrass herself. Clearly, she achieved that."
Trebek himself is fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He went public with his diagnosis in March 2019 and has continued to host the show, despite the physical challenges he faces thanks to his treatments.
"Thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things," he said. "As long as I feel my skills haven’t diminished too much and as long as I’m enjoying spending time with bright people and working with people like Harry [Friedman] and our creative writing team, then I’m going to do it."
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