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Culture

Trebek Urges Support for COVID-19 Victims in 1 of Last Shows

NEW YORK — In a message taped for what turned out to be his final week as "Jeopardy!" host, Alex Trebek urged the game show's viewers to honor the season of giving by helping victims of the coronavirus epidemic.

Trebek's plea aired in the opening moments of the show that aired on Monday.

"We're trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in just a little bit, we're going to get there," he said.

Trebek died November 8 at age 80 of pancreatic cancer but had pre-taped several weeks of shows that have continued to air. Monday's show began the final week of programs that he left behind.

His last week of shows were originally scheduled to air on Christmas week; two categories of clues on Monday were "December 21" and "Christmas on Broadway." But to give Trebek's final week wider exposure, "Jeopardy!" put them off until this week.

The show's executive producer, Mike Richards, told NBC's "Today" show on Monday that Trebek was "an absolute warrior" in his last taping sessions.

"He was in enormous pain," Richards said. "He was, you know, 10 days away from passing away. And you will not sense that in any of these episodes."

A successor hasn't been named. Longtime "Jeopardy!' champion Ken Jennings will be the first of a planned series of guest hosts on episodes that begin appearing next week.

Asked whether Trebek had given any suggestions about a successor, Richards told NBC that "he mentioned a couple of names but he wanted to stay out of that … No one is going to replace him, and he knew that."

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