'The Chase' Opens With Heartfelt Tribute to Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek and Sara Haines
Ron Batzdorff/ABC via Getty Images; Eric McCandless via Getty Images

In the show's premiere, 'The Chase' honored the late game show icon.

Long live the trivia king. ABC's trivia show The Chase kicked off on Thursday, and host Sara Haines opened the show with a touching tribute to the late Alex Trebek.

"Before we launch this exciting new game show, we at ABC thought it was only fitting that we dedicate this show to the memory of Alex Trebek, the beloved host of Jeopardy! from 1984 until his recent passing," Haines shared at the start of the premiere.

"We all stand on the shoulders of his legacy and hope that The Chase will do him proud," she added. "And what better way to honor his legacy than to launch a show that stars Jeopardy!'s greatest champions of all time?... As Alex himself might say, 'What is The Chase?'"

Fans took to Twitter following the brief but heartfelt tribute and shared their appreciation for the recognition of Trebek's legacy.

The Chase is an adaptation of the British game show in which contestants face off against trivia masters, the masters in this case being Jennings, Holzhauer and Rutter. ET's Kevin Frazier spoke to Haines as well as the three champions, who talked about the tribute to Trebek,  who died in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

"I think it was just in recognition of the fact that the kind of people who watch this show are still gonna be feeling sad, like all four of us were," an emotional Jennings shared. "You know, we miss Alex. He's synonymous with this kind of fun, brainy evening entertainment, and people have had him in their homes for decades, you know, we just wanted to give voice to that."

Meanwhile, Haines talked about Trebek's incredible legacy, and the bittersweet timing of the show's premiere.

"I think trivia is always associated with Jeopardy! and Jeopardy! might arguably be the most famous game show that ever was," she reflected. 

"To know that the sad and tragic timing of when this show is coming out, the fact that these three men are kind of the center of it, and Alex sadly passes, I think it all was sad, but in some ways, was a passing torch or a baton of a beautiful moment where we get a spotlight -- three men that have really encapsulated massive journeys on Jeopardy! ... so to come right at the beginning of a new year with all that a new year will bring our world right now, it's a hopeful moment that I felt lucky to be a part of."