Jeopardy!‘s Alex Trebek era came to a close on Friday with the game show airing the late host’s final episode. Trebek — who taped his last episode in late October, just 10 days before his death — ended the show with his traditional send-off, which indicates he did not know it would be his farewell. “Thank you ladies and gentlemen for spending the time with us,” he said. “We’ll see you again next week.”
Friday’s episode, which was originally scheduled to air on Christmas Day, also included a retrospective of Trebek’s 37 years as host.
Trebek died on Nov. 8 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
Last January, Trebek revealed that he had already thought through what his final sign-off would look like. “It’ll be a significant moment for me,” Trebek said. “But I’ve kind of in my mind rehearsed it already. And what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end, that’s all I want.’ And I will say my goodbyes.
“I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me, because I have no say in that whatsoever,’” Trebek continued. “‘But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you’ve shown me for the past thirty-however-many years, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you, and goodbye.’”
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. Former Today co-host Katie Couric will also reportedly serve a week-long stint as guest host.