'Jeopardy!' EP says Alex Trebek was in 'enormous pain' during final tapings


"Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards has revealed what it was like working with Alex Trebek during his final days in the studio just preceding his death.

Trebek was still taping episodes of "Jeopardy!" up until 10 days before he passed away on November 8 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Richards describes Trebek's final performances as "herculean."

"He was in enormous pain," Richards shared with the Today show on Monday.

And while Trebek seemed to struggle through his final tapings, Richards says the fans won't be able to tell the difference between Trebek in his final days and the Trebek fans have known and loved for years, saying viewers will "not sense that in any of these episodes."

"He is strong. He sounds great. He's funny. And he's amazing," Richards added, saying Trebek was an "absolute warrior."

Richards then teased a special monologue from Trebek to air sometime during the broadcast of his final episodes, beginning Monday.

"In this very special, unbelievable final week, he comes out and gives a talk about the importance of togetherness and sticking together and that the world is struggling, but we have to get through it together. And we had chills," the EP said.

Richards also revealed that Trebek didn't want a hand in deciding the next "Jeopardy!" host. A few names were thrown around but ultimately, Trebek wanted to "stay out of that."

"No one is going to replace him, and he knew that," Richards shared. "As humble as he was, he knew that there was no chance of that. It's someone smart, and credible, that loves the show. That's what he wanted."

Trebek was a beloved "Jeopardy!" host for 36 years before his November 8 death. Ken Jennings, a previous contestant who raked in more than $4 million playing the gameshow, will guest host as of January 11.

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