Alex Trebek is ready to jump back into action when production is allowed to resume come the end of Hollywood's coronavirus pandemic shutdown. While Jeopardy! has been able to air new episodes throughout the pandemic due to a stock of pre-recorded episodes, Friday marks the final pre-shutdown episode before the game show will enter into an indefinite period of rerun episodes.
While Jeopardy! fans were concerned about the lack of new episodes amid Trebek's battle with pancreatic cancer, a rep for the show told TVLine Thursday, "Alex is looking forward to resuming production as soon as we are able to do so. He’s told us he wants to be one of the first shows back in production." Jeopardy! suspended production in March along with the rest of Hollywood amid the early days of the coronavirus hitting the U.S. While the show has managed to extend its run of original content by rebroadcasting its Greatest of All Time tournament for two weeks in May, it was only a matter of time before it had to switch to reruns.
Trebek said in January at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that he had no plans of stepping down from his role as host in the "near future," despite his ongoing cancer battle. "For some reason, I can suck it up when [announcer] Johnny [Gilbert] introduces me, and it doesn’t matter how I’ve been feeling before that moment in my dressing room backstage… it’s just showtime," he said at the time, as per TVLine.
In March, Trebek gave an on-air update about his cancer, revealing he had hit a major milestone in his journey. "The one-year survival rate for stage four pancreatic cancer patients is 18 percent. I'm very happy to report I have just reached that marker," he said at the time. "Now, I'd be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won't kill me, the chemo treatments will."
Despite the days of "great pain" and sudden attacks of "great depression" that made him wonder if it was worth it to keep fighting, Trebek candidly said he was able to "brush that aside" because it would have been a "betrayal" of his wife and for other cancer patients, "who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope." He added, "And it would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God, and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf."