Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek won’t be signing off of the long-running quiz show anytime soon.
As far as when he’ll say his final goodbye to Jeopardy!, “I don’t foresee that coming up in the near future,” Trebek told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Wednesday. “Some days are better than others… they’ve got me off one of my chemo drugs, which was killing me.” He added that he’ll be undergoing additional tests later this week. (Trebek was there to promote the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time primetime specials, along with contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.)
Even while going through grueling rounds of cancer treatment, Trebek says he’s always able to rally once the Jeopardy! cameras start rolling: “For some reason, I can suck it up when [announcer] Johnny [Gilbert] introduces me, and it doesn’t matter how I’ve been feeling before that moment in my dressing room backstage… it’s just showtime.”
When asked what he’ll miss most about hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek points to “the 30 minutes I spend on stage with the contestants. Because I love spending time with bright people.” (He added with a sly grin, “I hate spending time with stupid people.”) He’s already planned out how he’ll say goodbye on the air, asking the director to give him 30 seconds at the end of his final broadcast, but he admits that “I haven’t worked on it at all… it would be the same as when I shaved my mustache. I would do it on a whim.”
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Trebek, who has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, announced last March that he’d been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He returned to work in August after a successful round of chemotherapy, but recently suffered a setback in his treatment and restarted chemotherapy. In an October interview, he admitted that his skills as a host have been “diminished” by the treatment (“My tongue doesn’t work as well as it used to”), and earlier this month, he revealed he has “no say whatsoever” in his successor as Jeopardy! host.
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time continues with Night 2 on Wednesday at 8/7c on ABC.