Ever since he revealed that he was battling cancer and would ultimately have to leave his beloved television game show, folks have wondered who would be his replacement. Now, he might be giving a clue to the future of Jeopardy!.
Alex Trebek revealed in the spring of 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. During a television special titled What Is Jeopardy!? Trebek explained that facing his now “closed-ended life” has been difficult.
“Most of us have open-ended lives, we don’t know when we’re going to die. Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-end life because of the terrible statistics, survival rates for pancreatic cancer.”
The 79-year-old has been the host of Jeopardy! for 36 years and is scheduled to be the host until 2022, but if his health gets worse, that may not be the case. When that happens, however, Trebek says he already has rehearsed that day.
“It’ll be a significant moment but I’ve kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already,” he explained of his final show. “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.”
“I will say my good-byes and I will tell people: ‘Don’t ask me who is going to replace me, because I have no say in that whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me for the past 30, however many years, then they will be a success, and the show will continue being a success.’”
On January 8th, 2020, Trebek expanded on his timeline a bit, telling reporters for the Television Critics Association that he doesn’t see himself retiring anytime soon. But, in addition to that, he did suggest someone as his replacement and it caught fans off guard a bit!
“It’s probably going to be a woman, somebody younger, somebody bright, somebody personable, somebody with a great sense of humor, so I nominated Betty White,” Trebek said, jokingly.
With Betty White celebrating her 98th birthday on January 17th, 2020 – it’s unlikely she’ll take the reigns as a full-time Jeopardy! host…but who knows? She could pop in as a guest host! Plus, the two have worked together before!
Check out two clips below from when Alex Trebek guest-starred on Betty White’s show Hot In Cleveland.