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When Alex Trebek says goodbye to Jeopardy!, he'll only need 30 seconds to do it

Jeopardy! Greatest Of All Time
Photo: Eric McCandless (ABC)

Alex Trebek hasn’t decided what he’ll say at the end of his last episode of Jeopardy, and doesn’t know when it will happen— but he believes that he’ll only need 30 seconds to do it. “It would be the same as when I shaved my mustache—on a whim,” he said, adding that when the time comes, he’ll ask the producers for 30 seconds at the end of that episode “to say goodbye.”

The question of the future hovered over the Television Critics Association panel for ABC’s primetime limited series Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, which pits all-time great contestants Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer against each other for a million-dollar prize. Executive producer Harry Friedman told reporters that when Trebek does retire, there are no plans to take time off, but that at this point there is no successor to the role of host in place. Trebek has been hosting Jeopardy since 1984, and is currently contracted to continue doing so until 2022. Discussion of his potential retirement began a few years ago, but the 79-year-old legend, currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, said that he doesn’t “see it coming up in the near future.”

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Continued Trebek, “thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things. We’ll see what happens.” As long as he feels that his skills “have not diminished too much” and he still enjoys spending time with the contestants and the production staff, he’ll keep doing the show. His plans for after retirement? “Drink.”

Trebek said that his favorite part of hosting Jeopardy is getting to spend half an hour on stage with the contestants. “I love spending time with bright people,” he explained. “I hate spending time with stupid people.” Same, Mr. Trebek, same.

Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time is set to run for seven episodes, continuing tonight on ABC.

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About the author

Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a L.A.-based writer who recently spent five years at Indiewire. Her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, THR, the Verge, and Thought Catalog.