Alex Trebek is feeling the love from Jeopardy fans after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer amid his 35th year of hosting the hit show. In an interview with ABC News airing Thursday, Trebek opened up about the outpouring of support from both fans and contestants on the show, saying it has had a real impact on his morale amid treatment.
"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," he told the outlet. "They have come out and they have told me, and my gosh, it makes me feel so good."
While Trebek revealed he has no plans to step down as host of Jeopardy now, the longtime TV personality has already begun to plan out his goodbye speech.
"It'll be a significant moment for me," he said of the eventual moment. "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 has signed on to host until 2022, but after his announcement in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with cancer, he told Canada's CTV that his cancer treatments have begun to affect his hosting abilities.
"I'm sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they're forgiving," he said to the outlet, explaining that his chemotherapy has caused mouth sores that make it hard to enunciate. "But there will come a point when they (fans and producers) will no longer be able to say, 'It's ok…' I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish."
What is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America's Most Popular Quiz Show will air on ABC on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Getty / Emma McIntyre