We’re going to go ahead and say it: We’re probably going to cry during Alex Trebek’s final episode of Jeopardy! today. It’s hard not to. This is a television hero for the ages, someone who valued intellect, a quick mind, and kindness. He was a rare man on this Earth, someone who was every bit as magnificent off-camera as he was guiding the contestants through their daily game.
We never took Alex for granted: It was impossible to. He loved this show, and he understood how much viewers loved it just as much. He took the job seriously, whether it be correcting pronunciation or sympathizing with contestants on a wrong Final Jeopardy! answer. The show took on a new life once it allowed its contestants to have indefinite runs. That’s what made the runs of Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer so special; you saw them embark on their winning streaks and develop this unique relationship with the host over time.
The contestants were always the heroes of Jeopardy! alongside the show — it allowed trivia nerds to be role models and champions, and it gave us a chance to get to know them with each passing episode. We know that there will be tributes to Trebek throughout tonight’s episode, but we also do not want to forget about the game. Yoshie Hill from California is entering tonight’s episode as a two-time champion, and with total earnings above $31,000. This is her chance to defend that, but we cannot even imagine what the experience would be of transitioning from this episode over to one featuring a new host. (Jennings is set to serve as the first of many guest hosts.)
As you watch tonight, remember that this episode was first filmed to air on Christmas Day and there may be mentions of that throughout; the reason for the delay was to ensure that there was time to pay proper tribute to Alex.
Jeopardy! will continue. It may even be great. It will just never be the same. We’re going to miss Alex through every single clue and champion to come.
We’ll be back with more later tonight. Check your local listings. (Photo: Sony TV.)