Jan. 4, Monday till Friday, Jan. 8 will be when the long-running game show’s final episodes air. According to a press release, the five new episodes were recorded in late October just before Trebek’s death last month due to pancreatic cancer.
The last episode includes a special tribute to Trebek, and the game show will continue to air new episodes starting Jan. 11 hosted by former contestant and champion, Ken Jennings.
The show’s executive producer Mike Richards shares in an interview about the last few episodes shot before Trebek’s untimely death in an interview published during Tuesday.
“He had been out with the surgery, and I wasn’t sure he would be back to tape those days,” Richards says. “So for the few of us that knew what exactly was going on, there was a heightened sense in the room. I had chills throughout the first taping on that Monday, because I was watching him, going, ‘How is he doing this?’ He came in at a higher level than normal, and his normal was excellent. On that first episode, he walked out, and you’ll see it when it airs, he gives this amazing speech about the holidays and coming together and being strong and taking care of each other. And we didn’t know he was gonna do that; he just walked out and did it.”
The last few episodes were wrapped up in over two days, despite Trebek being “exhausted” all throughout the shoot, Richard further adds “You’ll watch them and you’ll go, ‘This guy’s as healthy as could be. This is not a sick person at all.’ He had that much willpower. And we knew how much he was fighting, and that’s what made the performance even more impressive.”