Jeopardy! host and television staple Alex Trebek announced that he’d been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019, and ever since he’s kept viewers abreast of his progress: When production wrapped on the quiz show’s 35th season, Trebek revealed that he’d taped 50 episodes of Jeopardy! since his diagnosis; by May, he was letting People know that the cancer was “near remission.” Now, in the wake of a setback he first discussed prior to the debut of Jeopardy!’s newest episodes, Trebek is saying chemotherapy could have an impact on his ability to continue hosting.
“I talk to the producers about this all the time now,” Trebek said in an interview with Canada’s CTV News. “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 to speak and enunciate properly.”
With episodes of Jeopardy’s 36th season now airing, the 79-year-old host said he’s sure “observant members of the television audience” have detected a change in his performance, “but they’re forgiving.” And even if they aren’t, he’s receiving plenty of support and reassurance from the people behind the scenes.
“I’m not as bothered by it because all the people around me are saying ‘No, it’s okay,’” he said. “But there will come a point where they will no longer able to say, ‘It’s okay.’”
Fortunately, until that point, you’ll still find Alex Trebek on your TV, reading off clues and expressing incredulity at contestants’ lack of sports knowledge. “There are weaknesses that I feel in my body,” he said, “but I can always suck it up when it comes time to tape the show.”