It’s been more than a month since Alex Trebek died, ending one of the most celebrated TV careers in the history of the medium, and sending millions of television trivia fans into a quiet period of mourning (either in the form of a question, or not). Now, Jeopardy! producers have announced that Trebek’s 35-plus-year tenure on the series will formally end next week, when the final five episodes he recorded of the series will air, from January 4 to January 8. The run of episodes will include a message the host—who first announced his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in 2019, and continued to film during his fight with the disease—recorded about the “season of giving” that’ll air at the top of the Monday episode, and a final tribute to him that will run on the final Friday installment.
Meanwhile, pieces continue to fall into place for the show’s continued survival, with series champion Ken Jennings guest-hosting his first episode on Monday, January 11. Deadline reports that Jennings recently went out of his way on Twitter to issue an apology for past jokes that were “unartful and insensitive,” which is a), nice, and b), presumably part of the run-up to him stepping into the shoes of a man who commanded an immeasurably comforting TV presence (and occasional capacity for a hearty, well-intentioned dunk on the nerds). Jennings is still being listed as a “guest host” for his run on the series, but it’s not hard to see his upcoming appearances as a trial run for a more permanent position with the show.
In the meantime, we’ll all have to say our final goodbyes to Trebek, the man synonymous with the show’s remarkably consistent run over the last three-plus decades on the air. It’s hard to imagine a TV landscape that doesn’t feature him genially correcting trivia addicts, and seeing him issue that final Final Jeopardy! next Friday is going to be hard to watch without getting misty eyes or a lump in our throats.