‘Jeopardy’ Champions Rave Over ‘Everybody’s Favorite Uncle’ Alex Trebek

James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter have one major thing in common with the rest of the world: They adore Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek — and they know him better than most.

“He takes it so seriously, but he still has that twinkle in his eye,” Rutter, 41, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Television Critics’ Association’s winter press tour. “He’s sort of like everybody’s favorite uncle and he’s coming into your house every night, which is why I think there’s been such an outpouring of love and support for him. He really does feel like family to everyone.”

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Holzhauer, 36, also added that Trebek, 79, is beloved by all — something that is very rare. “He just has such a broad appeal,” the professional gambler told Us. “I mean, have you ever met someone who doesn’t like Alex Trebek? I can’t imagine.”

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James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutte and Alex Trebek during ABC TCA Winter Press Tour on January 8, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

During the TCA panel, the Greatest of All Time contestants also complimented Trebek on his work ethic.

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“Having been in the business myself a little bit, I know how much work it takes to make it look effortless. And this guy, no matter what he’s going through, over the years just keeps getting better and better,” Rutter shared with reporters. “Ken and I were in the audience a couple months ago, and we were just blown away. How does he keep getting better? It doesn’t make any sense. But he does. And it’s just the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen.”

Jeopardy Champions Break Down Dizzying Road to Fame
Alex Trebek wins at The 46th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Frank Micelotta/Picturegroup/Shutterstock

The host revealed in March he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. During a recent special, he revealed he already had a plan for his final 30 seconds whenever he decides to step down as host.

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“I don’t foresee that 30-second moment coming up in the near future,” he told reporters. “When you’ve been in the same job for that long a period of time and you’re in advanced years, it behooves you to think at some point about retiring. Now, thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things. … As long as I feel my skills have not diminished too much and as long as I’m enjoying spending time with bright people like these three and working with people like [executive producer] Harry [Friedman] and our creative writing staff, then I’ll continue doing it.”

Jeopardy: The Greatest of All Time continues on ABC Monday, January 13, at 8 p.m. ET.

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