As he continues his battle against pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek admitted that he struggled during taping of Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time. Just months after revealing that he would have to undergo further chemotherapy to treat the disease, Trebek returned to the Jeopardy! set last month for taping of the special, which features top contestants Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer, and began airing on Tuesday.
According to the StarTribune, Trebek recalled telling a series producer that he was "struggling a bit" on stage, though he was told that nobody else noticed.
"I said, 'Well, I noticed,'" the longtime host said.
Despite his struggles, Trebek managed to seamlessly transition back to his old self as soon as he took the stage, according to Jennings.
"The chemo is rough, but he can always just turn it on," Jennings said. "The music came on, the lights came on, he would just stride out there and nail that show like nobody else. It was exciting to see him doing so well and taking that diagnosis so bravely. To me, he’s the last of that kind of old-school broadcasters, and it’s such a pleasure to watch.”
Trebek, who first announced his diagnosis in March of 2019, has not shied away from getting candid about the affects his treatments have had on him, including the revelation that his hosting abilities have begun to diminish.
"I'm sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they're forgiving," he previously told Canada's CTV, explaining that the chemo has caused sores in his mouth that can make it difficult for him to enunciate his words. "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."
Although Trebek currently does not have any plans to retire from the series, stating that he doesn't "foresee that coming up in the near future," stepping away from the game show has not been far from his mind. Recently, the Jeopardy! host said that he has “rehearsed” his final goodbye.0comments
Trebek is currently signed on to host Jeopardy! through 2022. He has hosted the series since 1984, when he took over the position from Art Fleming.
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament resumes on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.