With the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament underway and gaining steam, longtime host Alex Trebek is proud of the three record-holders competing for the million-dollar prize. In an interview with TMZ on Wednesday, the 79-year-old gushed over the "Super Bowl-type competition" the three men foster as the game progresses.
"In the first half of the match, I don't think they missed one clue," Trebek said of Tuesday's debut episode of the special tournament. "When you're dealing with players of this caliber, you know that there aren't going to be many mistakes. It's very competitive."
He went on to reveal that just $200 separated the players at the end of Tuesday's episode. "I mean, that is Super Bowl-type competition," he gushed.
Even in the midst of battling stage four pancreatic cancer, Trebek said he "most certainly did" enjoy the tapings of the tournament in which Jeopardy! record-holders Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer compete for the GOAT title.
"It was good to be back with Ken and Brad again and to have James on hand to make it a great competition," Trebek said, likening the three competitors to a family. "You have to keep in mind that these are three individuals who have had great success on our program and have been on the show so many times that they are almost like best friends or close relatives. It's good to be able to spend time with them even though I operate in an official capacity of moderator of the program."
The tournament comes nearly a year after Trebek revealed his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. On Wednesday, he gave a health update at the TCA Winter Press Tour during ABC's presentation. The update doubled as a peek into his plans to continue hosting Jeopardy! amid his illness.
"I don't foresee that coming up in the near future," he said when asked about possible retirement. He mentioned that he's taking it "month by month" and that "some days after better than others ... they've got me off one of my chemo drugs, which was killing me."
He also reveled that he'll undergo additional testing at a doctor's visit on Thursday.0comments
During the press event, he related that he's always able to rally when it's time to film episodes of the quiz show. "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.