Whereas he may usually be behind the scenes, “Jeopardy!” govt producer Mike Richards stepped in entrance of the digital camera on Monday evening to start a two-week stint as visitor host of the enduring daytime sport present.

In his opening feedback, Richards defined that, whereas a slew of celeb visitor hosts are lined up for the approaching weeks, the coronavirus disaster in Los Angeles, the place the present is filmed, made upcoming hosts “understandably slightly reticent to shoot.”

“So, because the producer, my job is to fairly actually stay the mantra ‘the present should go on,’” Richards stated. “So let’s do what Alex Trebek did 8,244 instances: Let’s play ‘Jeopardy!’ and show that nothing can cease this present.”

Trebek, the present’s longtime host, died at age 80 on Nov. 8, 2020, after battling pancreatic most cancers. He taped episodes till the times simply earlier than his loss of life in what Richards would later name a “herculean” effort.

On the finish of Monday’s episode, Richards took a second to understand Trebek’s legacy and dying want.

“I simply wish to say, as Alex stated, we’re making an attempt to construct a kinder and gentler society,” Richards stated. “And if all of us pitch in just a bit bit, we’re going to get there. See you subsequent time.”

Feb. 22, 2021’s episode of “Jeopardy!” ended with a tribute to late host Alex Trebek.Courtesy of “Jeopardy!”

The present then ended with a black display with white textual content in honor of Trebek.

“Devoted to Alex Trebek,” the slate learn. “Perpetually in our Hearts, At all times our Inspiration.”

Richards’ quote was a reference to a passionate speech Trebek gave within the first of his ultimate episodes that aired in early January, calling on folks to be beneficiant amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“That is the season of giving. I do know you wish to be beneficiant with your loved ones, your pals, your family members, however as we speak I might such as you to go one step additional,” Trebek stated. “I might such as you to open up your palms and open up your coronary heart to those that are nonetheless struggling due to COVID-19. People who find themselves struggling by no fault of their very own. We’re making an attempt to construct a gentler, kinder society. And if all of us pitch in just a bit bit, we’re gonna get there.”

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Richards took over as visitor host for Ken Jennings, who Richards stated needed to step down as host as a result of obligations along with his different present, “The Chase.” Jennings, 46, on Friday thanked followers for his or her assist throughout his time behind the “Jeopardy!” lectern.

“That’s a wrap on my six weeks of @Jeopardy visitor internet hosting,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for watching, thanks in your endurance with a troublesome studying curve…and, as at all times, thanks Alex. 💙”

“Thanks, Alex,” was how Jennings signed off every episode that he hosted as a easy acknowledgment of the late Trebek.

He advised a fan on Twitter that it was truly Richards who got here up with the thought.

“Each single time @KenJennings thanks Alex on the finish of @Jeopardy, I get all choked up. I hope he by no means stops,” Jessica Brody tweeted.

“’Thanks, Alex’ was urged as a sign-off by govt producer Mike Richards, and I am glad he did. There would not be a present with out Alex,” Jennings replied.

Jennings additionally paid tribute to Trebek when he took over as host in January.

“Not many issues in life are excellent, however Alex did this job just about completely for greater than 36 years,” he stated on the prime of his first episode. “And it was even higher up shut. We have been dazzled by his intelligence, his allure, his grace — actually, there is no different phrase for it.

“Like all ‘Jeopardy!’ followers, I miss Alex very a lot,” he added, emotional. “And I thank him for what he did for all of us. Let’s be completely clear, nobody will ever substitute the nice Alex Trebek, however we are able to honor him by enjoying the sport he cherished.”