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"Jeopardy!" executive producer says Alex Trebek made "being smart cool" ahead of his final episode

Final "Jeopardy!" episode with Alex Trebek
"Jeopardy!" airs its final episode with Alex Trebek 06:27

Beloved "Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek's last taped show will air Friday, two months after he died at the age of 80. Ahead of his final episode, the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, told CBSN in an interview that Trebek "made being smart cool." ,

Trebek became a nightly fixture in millions of American homes after hosting "Jeopardy!" for more than 35 years. Richards told CBSN anchor Vladimir Duthiers that his devoted staff will continue on in his honor. 

 "The man made being smart cool, and what a great legacy that is," he said. "And we've gotta keep that going." 

"His DNA is in that show in the way we run it, in the way we write it, in the way we cast it," he added. "It's everywhere and we're not changing it."  

Richards did not reveal a successor, but former "Jeopardy!' champion Ken Jennings will be the first of a planned series of guest hosts for episodes that begin airing next week.

This week's final string of episodes featuring Trebek left some memorable ones, including Monday's taping, where he urged viewers to help victims of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"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," Trebek said in the opening remarks. 

Trebek  was remembered fondly by fans and former contestants in the wake of his death in November. Burt Thakur had a viral moment with the gameshow icon just days before he died. Thakur, who emigrated to the U.S. from India at a young age, thanked Trebek and credited the show for teaching him English. 

Thakur told CBSN he's the "biggest Jeopardy fan" and reflected on meeting Trebek.

"To be able to tell a man that I never met and thank him for what he meant to me and what he meant to my family, that was the gift," he said.  

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