LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek said on Wednesday he has no plans to retire any time soon, but after 36 years on the television quiz show he knows what his legacy should be.
“I hope I have been an influence on the benefits of emphasizing the importance of knowledge,” said Trebek, 79. “It enriches you and makes you a better human being and a more understanding human being.”
Trebek, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, was speaking to television reporters the day after the broadcast of the first night of “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time.”
The ABC show, which brings together past champions Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer, dominated television on Tuesday attracting more than 14 million viewers, according to ratings data, and was one of the biggest trending topics on Twitter. The tournament, which was pre-recorded, will continue until one of the trio wins three matches.
Trebek said the “Greatest of All Time” special would not have been possible before Holzhauer’s 32-game winning streak in 2019 and his win in the Tournament of Champions.
“There was never a third candidate we could put up against Ken and Brad,” he said. “It’s a competition that people have been looking forward to for a long time.”
Trebek said he had good and bad days with his health and was undergoing more tests on Thursday.
But he said “thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things” and that he would continue hosting “Jeopardy!” as long as his skills are undiminished.
“I don’t foresee that moment coming up in the near future,” he said.
“I like spending time with bright people. I hate spending time with stupid people,” Trebek added, when asked what he might miss about the show when he eventually bows out.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Tom Brown