Alex Trebek Reveals He's Rehearsed His 'Jeopardy!' Goodbye
The 79-year-old game show host discussed his health and his future with Jeopardy! in a preview of the ABC special What is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America's Most Popular Quiz Show, which airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
Trebek was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March and finished a first round of chemotherapy in August. He said on Good Morning America in September that his numbers were "sky high" and required another round of chemo.
Longtime viewers donating in his name have also brought a surge in fundraising for pancreatic cancer research.
Trebek told ABC News he's started to consider his exit from Jeopardy! and how he'll say goodbye on his last show.
"It'll be a significant moment for me. But 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.' 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.'"
Trebek acknowledged that he may not have long to live, but said prayer and fan support have kept his spirits up.
"I have learned something in the past year and it's this: We don't know when we're going to die," he said. "Because of the cancer diagnosis, it's no longer an open-ended life ... Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I'm alive, about the impact that I've been having on their existence," the star said.
"They have come out and they have told me, and my gosh, it makes me feel so good," he shared.
For now, Trebek is still filming Jeopardy! and is considering alternative treatments to chemotherapy.
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"We may try a new protocol... a different chemo or something in the trial stage that is not chemotherapy," he said. "I don't mind experimenting. I've got nothing to lose, so let's go for it."
Trebek will host Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, which premieres Jan. 7. The special is a competition featuring Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, the three highest money winners in Jeopardy! history.
By Annie Martin
Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.