Alex Trebek Makes Posthumous Plea to Jeopardy! Viewers Ahead of Final Episode — Watch Video

The first of five final Jeopardy! episodes featuring Alex Trebek kicked off Monday on an emotional note, with the late host delivering a posthumous message to viewers about the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the season of giving,” Trebek said at the top of Monday’s show. “I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But today I’d like you to go one step further. I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your heart to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19 — people who are suffering through no fault of their own. We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society. If we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.” (Watch full video above.)

Originally slated to air the week of Christmas, Trebek’s final five Jeopardy! episodes were rescheduled for this week. His final episode airs this Friday, Jan. 8.

Trebek, who died on Nov. 8 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, shot his final Jeopardy! episodes in late October. Exec producer Mike Richards recently confirmed that Trebek would start off Monday’s episode by addressing viewers about “togetherness” and “how important family is,” adding that the speech “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.”

Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, Jeopardy! G.O.A.T. contestant Ken Jennings will step in for Trebek as the first in a series of interim guest hosts. Future guest hosts will be announced at a later date.