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Alex Trebek's Final 'Jeopardy!' Episodes Air This Week

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The new year is starting with a farewell to Alex Trebek. His final episodes of "Jeopardy!" will air today through Friday.

NOEL KING, HOST:

He died on November 8 of pancreatic cancer, 10 days after taping his last show. Mike Richards is the executive producer of "Jeopardy!"

MIKE RICHARDS: He was committed to the show. He loved the show. I mean, he worked as hard Day 8,148 as he did Day 10. That's who he was.

KING: Richards says Alex Trebek didn't know these would be his last episodes, and he says that watching them, you wouldn't know it, either.

RICHARDS: As of the Friday after these shows were taped, he was telling me, I'm not going to be in next week, but I'll be in the following week. And he passed early Sunday morning. So the man was battling incredible pain, had to have been exhausted, and he had willed himself back into the studio to tape. And you watch, and they're as good, if not better, than any of the shows that he's taped in the last decade.

INSKEEP: Some of Trebek's posthumous episodes have already been broadcast, like the one he recorded for Thanksgiving.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

ALEX TREBEK: You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful. There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that's a good thing. Keep the faith. We're going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.

INSKEEP: Wow. Sony Pictures Television has promised that Friday's finale will include - and this is a quote - "a special tribute to the life and work of the man who captained America's favorite quiz show with skill, style and sophistication for 36-plus years." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.