Alex Trebek, 'Jeopardy!' Boss Address Questions of Possible Successor
Jeopardy! hasn't yet picked a successor for Alex Trebek.
Discussion about Trebek's future on the show was a topic at the forefront of ABC's Television Critics Association winter press tour on Wednesday -- however, both Trebek and Jeopardy! executive producer Harry Friedman shared there aren't concrete plans for the beloved host's departure amid his battle with cancer.
"No and no," Friedman answered when asked whether the show planned to take time off or had picked a successor for Trebek following his retirement.
Trebek shared that he doesn't have a date in mind for his final Jeopardy! show -- "We'll see what happens," he said. "As long as I feel my skills have not diminished too much and as long as I'm enjoying spending time with bright people... then I'll continue doing it." -- he does have an idea of what he'll do with his free time.
"Drink," he quipped. "I work around the house. Keep in mind I'm 79 now, and I don't foresee that 30-second moment [of me signing off] coming up in the near future. When you've been in the same job for that long, the same time… it behooves you to think at some point about retiring. Thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things. "
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time competitor Ken Jennings chimed in: "If anyone's irreplaceable on TV -- I don't want to put Harry in a tough spot -- but it's this guy right here."
Trebek first revealed he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer last March. His cancer was in "near remission," but he revealed in September there had been a resurgence in the disease. Trebek said at the time that doctors had decided he'd have to undergo chemotherapy again.
Praise for Trebek and his television legacy flowed through Wednesday's panel -- though the host was adamant that "you don't owe me anything."
"I've been extremely lucky. I've had the good fortune to host -- I have the good fortune in my nearly 60-year career to not be unemployed for more than a total of nine months in all that period. I've had the good fortune to be associated with good television programs, and to be able to bask in the glory of ... [people] who demonstrate how bright they are, how funny they are, how engaging they are. I keep telling folks, 'Hey, if the show's a success because I'm there every day, I will have a measure of success also,'" he shared.
As for his impact, Trebek shared, "I hope I've been an influence for good and an influence for the benefits of not minimizing the importance of knowledge in one's life."
Trebek opened up about the topic of a successor on last week's ABC special, What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show.
"It'll be a significant moment for me," Trebek said of his final Jeopardy! show. "But I've kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already."
"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,'" he continued. "And 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.'"
See more on Trebek in the video below.
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time continues Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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