Alex Trebek's Last Jeopardy! Episodes Left Producers, Crew 'In Tears'

Alex Trebek's last episode

Jeopardy! fans will have a little more time to prepare for the end of an era. As previously reported, late, legendary host Alex Trebek‘s final five episodes —originally slated to kick off Monday, Dec. 21 — will now get underway on Monday, Jan. 4, with his last episode set to air on Friday, Jan. 8.

Leading up to that fateful week, the game show will air two weeks of reruns that celebrate Trebek’s spirit of adventure (the first of which will be broadcast Dec. 21.)

Trebek, who died on Nov. 8 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, shot his final Jeopardy! episode in late October. At the time, “We didn’t know it was going to be his last [episode],” showrunner Mike Richards previously told CNN. “He was in pain and we knew it. He [recently] had surgery and I couldn’t believe he was already back from the surgery.”

Richards also revealed that at the top of the first of Trebek’s final five episodes, the host delivered a heartfelt speech to viewers “talking about togetherness, how important family is… It will resonate even more now. It was so beautiful that we were all emotional; we were all in tears. And then we started clapping, and [the noise] almost distracted him because  he was going, ‘OK, now let’s play Jeopardy!’ It was one of those days where he was at the top of his game, even though, clearly, he was very ill.”

In late November, Jeopardy! announced that G.O.A.T. contestant Ken Jennings would be the first in a series of interim guest hosts succeeding Trebek. Jennings is set to make his debut on Monday, Jan. 11. A permanent host will be announced at a later date.

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