An Appeal To Jeopardy!: Push Back Alex Trebek’s Final Show. Please.

Over the past 24-plus hours since Alex Trebek’s death, the show and many news outlets have doubled down on reporting that Alex Trebek’s final episode is set to air on December 25. Christmas Day.

Here’s where I have to say: As someone who has been following Jeopardy!—and its airing trends—over the past number of years, this is a disaster waiting to happen, and it’s a disaster that can still be corrected.

All Mike Richards is doing with this decision is entering into a massive game of chicken with not one, but two major American sports leagues and two major American television networks. This is a game that he is absolutely not going to win. FOX affiliates nationwide are absolutely not going to pre-empt the Vikings-Saints game scheduled for 4:30 PM on Christmas Day, and ABC affiliates are absolutely not going to pre-empt their slate of NBA games that are very traditional on Christmas Day, especially considering that the NBA is choosing to begin its season on December 22 in order to ensure that its traditional Christmas Day games are played. Richards is going to pit viewers who want to watch Alex’s final episode—an episode which will undoubtedly see near-record ratings for the show—with local affiliates who are likely forced to run their network’s sports programming. This is a foreseen issue that is going to upset viewers and affiliates alike if it is not resolved.

Jeopardy! moving holiday episodes is not without precedent. In 2018, when Alex had his blood clots removed from his brain, Easter episodes got pushed back two weeks in order to fit a rescheduled 2018 College Championship. Moreover, as noble as “It’s what Alex would have wanted” is, sports is still king when it comes to American television; Alex Trebek’s wishes are not going to get Jeopardy! to air over Christmas sports traditions.

In closing, I would like to make a personal appeal to you, Mike Richards, on behalf of the entire Jeopardy! fandom: Run two weeks of reruns so that we do not have to deal with widescale pre-emptions on what is to be Alex Trebek’s final episode. Push Alex’s final episode back to January 8, 2021. Your fans, who want to experience all of Alex’s remaining shows, deserve better than to have Alex’s final show pre-empted.

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15 Comments on "An Appeal To Jeopardy!: Push Back Alex Trebek’s Final Show. Please."

  1. Gary Kevin Ware | November 10, 2020 at 12:55 am |

    I don’t remember why, but I remember missing the Jeopardy episode last Christmas. In Los Angeles, Jeopardy! is regularly scheduled on ABC at 7PM and so maybe there was a Lakers – Clippers basketball game that day. Sometimes, they push back the show one day, like last week, the Friday show being on Saturday at 9PM, because of college football. Other times, it is just pushed back to 2:07AM, or something like that, and it may or may not be on the schedule so that I could record it. Still, I am opposed to artificially pushing back the air date of Alex Trebek’s last show.

  2. Excuse my ignorance but Andy write this? I hadn’t thought about this situation.

  3. Julia McDermott | November 10, 2020 at 8:07 am |

    Yes l could also see this happening and as special as this final episode of Jeopardy will be we need to insure this will not occurs.Please add me to any support you need to push it the 8th

  4. During the recent NBA Finals ABC made sure they tried to air as few games as possible against NFL Football cause when they were on together basketball got beat pretty good, also on Christmas Day they always split the lineup of games between ABC and ESPN, so I would like to believe they wouldn’t go head to head (at least on ABC) against Vikings v Saints that day (if they indeed are thinking of doing so). That said given time I believe the higher ups at J! will recognize the limited viewers a Xmas Day airing of Alex’s finale would cause and air two weeks of repeats during the holidays so the airing would occur when more folks can watch it. Thanks Andy for alerting us to this possibility.

    • Gary Kevin Ware | November 10, 2020 at 10:28 pm |

      In Los Angeles, when the Monday Night Football game involves a local team, the Rams or Chargers, the game is put on the local ABC station, in addition to ESPN. Even though the Raiders are now in Las Vegas and have not had a direct connection to Los Angeles for many years, I think that the same thing happened with them earlier this year. In my earlier comment, I said that the Lakers and Clippers were probably playing last Christmas and the same thing would probably happen this year, probably putting the game on ABC. You’re not taking into account that splitting up Alex Trebek’s final episodes with two weeks of repeats would probably also draw low ratings.

      • Gary Kevin Ware | November 11, 2020 at 10:38 pm |

        Another idea, especially if there is a delay in choosing a new host, is to air the episodes in order, and only then repeat the final episodes.

  5. Does anyone know if Alex and the crew knew that would be his last game? I know Alex said a while back that on his last show he wanted 30 seconds at the end to address the audience. I’m curious if he was able to do that.

  6. Maybe you could consider pushing his entire last week to the week of Jan. 4 through Jan. 8. It will avoid sports, people traveling, and the numerous activities revolving around Christmas. I would love to watch that whole last week in quiet post-holiday relaxation.

  7. Bill McGuffie | November 11, 2020 at 9:00 pm |

    I also did not think about this “problem” but I agree that it should be pushed back and really LIKE the idea of the entire week being pushed back to avoid all the potential conflicts and give Alex and the viewers the attention and respect deserved! PLEASE! Thank you!

  8. Very well-said, Andy. And even if there were no preemptions due to sports, why would we want to watch Trebek’s final episode on Christmas anyway?

    • Gary Kevin Ware | November 12, 2020 at 2:55 pm |

      Why wouldn’t you want to watch it on Christmas? The Jeopardy ‘fans’ are arguing that Jeopardy! should go out of their way for them but they won’t go out of their way for Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek.

      • Gary:

        That’s not what we’re arguing. If the show never got pre-empted on Christmas, this post never would have been made. But because that day is one of the most pre-empted days of the entire season, it’s not fair to us to potentially not even be able to see the show.

        • Gary Kevin Ware | November 12, 2020 at 5:48 pm |

          I was specifically replying to Eric but I stand by everything that I have written. Even if that one day was messed up, it doesn’t require pushing back two weeks of episodes. A side note: Here in Los Angeles, it is frequently the case that Jeopardy! will be pre-empted but Wheel of Fortune, which follows at 7:30PM on KABC, is not.

  9. I’m all for airing this episode when the most number of people will be able to see it. One thing that would be weird about airing the final episode on a different day is that Alex and the rest of the show were undoubtedly pretending that it was Christmas day when they were taping. I don’t think that weirdness is worth depriving people of the opportunity to watch, but it is probably a consideration.

    Maybe they have some theory that they can run it as an extended halftime show for the games and get some kind of crossover audience, but that would probably cause a lot of people to miss the episode and it seems like it falls into the “too clever by half” category.

  10. Doug Bowden | December 2, 2020 at 6:02 pm |

    F Y I (not that it matters from a J! perspective), turns out ABC does indeed have Xmas Day NBA games from 2:30ET to 10:30ET, which would’ve pre-empted any regular airing of Jeopardy! during those hours on the 25th (along with the NFL game on Fox between 4:30 and 8ET), so much for my reading on that. So extra kudos on the pushing back of Alex’s final J! to 1/8/21, the correct response for sure.

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