After putting production on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jeopardy! began releasing new episodes back in September. This week, the final five new episodes featuring the show’s late host will air, kicking off with a heartfelt pretaped address by Alex Trebek, filmed in October and initially scheduled for Christmas Week, in which he urges viewers to open their hearts to the millions of people affected by COVID-19 across the nation.
“You’ll recall that about a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives,” Trebek says, referring to his equally touching Thanksgiving speech. “Now, today, a different kind of message: this is the season of giving. 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 hearts 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 and if we all pitch in, just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.”
Trebek passed away on November 8, having received treatment for two years following his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. As of Monday, January 11, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings will fill in as guest host, with future guest hosts (and the show’s official replacement host) to be announced at a later date. Monday’s episode concluded with a dedication to Trebek: “Forever in our hearts, always our inspiration.”