Ahead of Alex Trebek’s final “Jeopardy!” episodes airing this week, executive producer Mike Richards is opening up about what it was like for the late host to film the show just 10 days before his death.
“It was herculean,” Richards said on the “Today” show on Monday. “He was in enormous pain.”
But despite Trebek’s struggles, Richards said viewers will “not sense that in any of these episodes.”
“He is strong. He sounds great. He’s funny. And he’s amazing,” the EP added, calling the beloved host an “absolute warrior.”
Trebek’s final five episodes will begin Monday night on ABC, and Richards teased a special monologue during one of the episodes.
Richards said, “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.”
Trebek hosted “Jeopardy!” for 36 years before he died on Nov. 8 after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.
Richards revealed he discussed with Trebek who his successor may be, mentioning a few names, but the longtime host mostly wanted to “stay out of that.”
“No one is going to replace him, and he knew that,” Richards said. “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.”
As of Jan. 11, Ken Jennings, a previous contestant who’s won more than $4 million on the show, will guest host.