See How "Jeopardy!" Honored Alex Trebek in the Season Premiere
The show revealed a heartfelt tribute to the longtime host during the season premiere.
On Nov. 8, 2020, Alex Trebek, the widely adored Jeopardy! host of 37 years, died of pancreatic cancer. While his family, friends, and fans mourned his loss, the show had the nearly impossible task of finding someone to replace him. After all, the show must go on. Jeopardy!'s Season 38 premiere aired on Sept. 13 with a new host, but Trebek's memory was not forgotten. Officials from the show and the former host's family found a very special way to honor him and ensure that his memory lives on at the studio. Read on to see how Jeopardy! paid tribute to Trebek.
The stage Jeopardy! is filmed on has been dedicated to Alex Trebek.
The Sept. 13 season premiere of Jeopardy! began by revealing how the show would memorialize Trebek's tremendous impact. Announcer Johnny Gilbert revealed that the show's stage, which was previously dubbed Stage 10 at Sony Pictures Studios, will now have a new, more meaningful name.
"Earlier today, with Alex's wife, Jean, son Matt, and daughters Emily and Nicky, we dedicated the stage in his honor," Gilbert said, as Trebek's family stood on either side of a plaque displaying the new stage name. "It will now forever be known as the Alex Trebek Stage." A tweet from Jeopardy! captioned the video clip, "And now for the first time from the Alex Trebek Stage, let's play Jeopardy!"
The host battled cancer for over a year.
Trebek informed his fans that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019. He acknowledged that the prognosis for this is often not good, but he assured viewers, "I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working." Trebek was determined to beat the low survival rates of the specific cancer and joked that he had to live because his contract had him locked into hosting Jeopardy! for another three years.
The host kept the show running, never missing an episode, even through excruciating pain. Trebek revealed to CBS' Sunday Morning that during some episodes, his pain would shoot "from a three to an 11." He said, "I taped the show, and then I made it to the dressing room on one occasion, just barely, before I writhed in pain and cried in pain." However, viewers would never know it by watching him host.
In an update video in March 2020, a year after his first announcement, Trebek noted that only 18 percent of pancreatic cancer patients live that long. He said over the course of that year, there had been great moments but also "moments of great pain." He explained that there were "days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned and sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on." However, he said giving up would have been a betrayal to his family, friends, and fans. Eight months later, Trebek passed away, leaving behind an unparalleled legacy.
Trebek left behind three children and a wife.
The video revealing the new plaque on the Alex Trebek stage featured his family. Trebek left behind his second wife, Jean Trebek, and their children, 31-year-old Matthew Trebek and 28-year-old Emily Trebek. His eldest child, 55-year-old Nicky Trebek, was also at the dedication. He adopted Nicky with his first wife, Elaine Trebek.
Nicky shared a post on her Instagram about the tribute with many hashtags including, "we miss you" and "tribute for dad." She wrote that Stage 10 will always be Trebek's stage.
Mayim Bialik will be the interim Jeopardy! host.
With huge shoes to fill, Jeopardy! set out to find a new host after a series of guest hosts. The show landed on producer Mike Richards. However, after a significant amount of controversy about past comments Richards has made disparaging multiple groups of people, including women and the Jewish community, he was ousted. The season premiere did feature Richards, because the episode was filmed before he was removed from his position as host and executive producer. Mayim Bialik will act as interim host once Richards' episodes are done.