On November 8, 2020, Jeopardy!'s legions of fans received the devastating news that beloved quizmaster Alex Trebek had passed away after announcing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer two years earlier. The 80-year-old hosted Jeopardy! for 37 seasons.
The show had recently begun airing new episodes again, after halting production from March to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeopardy's current stock of pre-taped episodes—enough of them to last until Christmas—will constitute Trebek's final appearances. These episodes include some social distancing (contestants' podiums are farther apart) but are otherwise comfortingly the same as always.
Indeed, Jeopardy! has changed very little since Trebek took over for Art Fleming in 1984. The show enjoyed decades of cultural relevance, in large part due to its host. A consummate professional, Trebek made sure that Jeopardy! was a serious but accessible intellectual contest—one that rewards players for familiarity with pop culture but also demands knowledge of literature, classical music, and geography.
Under his stewardship, the show mercifully avoided the relentless politicization that has wormed its way into so many facets of modern entertainment. Jeopardy! is something that Trump-loving grandparents and liberal Gen Zers can enjoy together with nary a feud. Whoever takes over for Trebek should endeavor to keep it that way.