Ready to say goodbye — whenever that day may come. While Alex Trebek isn’t retiring from Jeopardy! just yet, he knows how the ending will play out. The 79-year-old, who has hosted the ABC trivia show since 1984, opened up about his future on the program amid his health battle on ABC’s What Is Jeopardy special.
“It will be a significant moment,” Trebek told host Michael Strahan during the Thursday, January 3, show about looking ahead. “I’ve kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want.'”
As for the message to the audience, he knows what that will be as well: “I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people: ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.'”
In March, Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. At the time, he began chemotherapy, but now he’s trying a new type of treatment. In October, the Canada native revealed he’ll continue hosting “as long [his] skills don’t diminish,” later admitting that they have “started to.”
In the special, he also opened up about his mood changes and recently getting choked up when contestant Dhruv Gaur caught him by surprise writing, “What is … We love you, Alex,” as his final answer during a recent episode.
“I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: ‘Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,’” Trebek shared. “I don’t mind getting choked up. My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness.”
The father of two also reflected on a realization he had in 2019. “I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die,” Trebek told Strahan. “Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-ended life because of the terrible … survival rates of pancreatic cancer.”
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!