“I will keep [hosting the show] as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish.”
So says longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, 79, in an interview with Lisa LaFlamme on the popular Canadian newsmagazine show “W5.”
Trebek is currently in the midst of a second round of chemotherapy to fight stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Trebek continues: “I talk to the producers about this all the time now. I say, ‘Look, I’m slurring my words. My tongue doesn’t work as well as it used to. The chemo has caused sores inside my mouth. It makes it difficult for me to speak and enunciate properly.’ They say, ‘Well, we don’t notice that.’
“I notice those things. And I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience who notice also. But they are forgiving, and I’ll accept that.”
Trebek adds that he would likely leave the show “when I feel that my skills have diminished to the point that I notice and am bothered by it. I notice now, but I’m not as bothered by it because all the people around me are saying, ‘No, it’s OK.’ But there will come a point where they will no longer be able to say ‘It’s OK.’”
Here’s the full “W5” interview with Trebek, which is on YouTube. It’s about a 20-minute piece. It begins about 70 seconds in. The quotes above about Trebek perhaps eventually leaving “Jeopardy!” start at the the 9:39 mark.