Updates From Alex Trebek on His Health and Plans for Jeopardy!

One of the biggest news stories of the last few years in the world of puzzles and games has been Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.

If you somehow don’t already know, Trebek was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer early last year, and he has been giving fans and well-wishers periodic updates on his condition.

Back when he first announced his diagnosis, Trebek stated, “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” then joked, “I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”

Despite the hardships both obvious and unseen during his treatment, Alex has continually proven to be a beacon of strength and support for those suffering with similar ailments.

Recently, Alex has been offering updates on both his health and the future of Jeopardy! during the pandemic.

In this video, he discusses his optimism regarding returning to his hosting duties, as well as plans to open the vault for the first time and re-air old episodes of the show:

In fact, last night, the very first episode of Jeopardy! Alex hosted was aired. (To be clear, I mean the official debut episode from September 10, 1984, not the 1983 pilot.)

It’s quite a blast from the past:

And that’s not all he shared with his loyal viewing audience.

Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Alex opened up about several topics, including his ongoing cancer treatment, looking forward to resuming his hosting duties, and what comes next.

He revealed some details on his upcoming memoirs. Not only will the autobiography beat an unauthorized biography to market, but the proceeds from the book’s advance and sales will all go to charity.

Although Trebek was honest — devastatingly so, at points — about the bad days he has endured, there is a strong thread of optimism throughout the interview. When the interviewer asked if Trebek had ever considered that he might have already hosted his last episode of Jeopardy!, Trebek replied that the thought had never crossed his mind.

You can watch the full video here:

No matter what the future holds for one of television’s most prolific hosts, you can be sure that we’ll be watching.

All our best wishes to you, Alex.


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A One-Year Anniversary Update from Alex Trebek

One of the biggest news stories of the last few years in the world of puzzles and games has been Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.

If you somehow don’t already know, Trebek was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer early last year, and he has been giving fans and well-wishers periodic updates on his condition.

Back when he first announced his diagnosis, Trebek stated, “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” then joked, “I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”

Despite the hardships both obvious and unseen during his treatment, Alex has continually proven to be a beacon of strength and support for those suffering with similar ailments. He has spoken more than once about taking things day by day.

This week, to make the one-year anniversary of his diagnosis, Trebek posted an update:

It would have been easy for him to simply offer an update and move on, but it’s very telling that he discussed the bad times and the struggles. He’s not sugarcoating this for anyone. He’s sharing his journey, warts and all.

It’s a remarkable bit of honesty, confronting the doubts, depression, and pain that comes with a battle like this. But by waging it in public for all to see, Alex not only spreads the word about cancer awareness and treatment, but he serves as a focal point for all the people fighting their own battles.

“If we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible.” A powerful message, to be sure. One full of hope, but still acknowledging the hard road ahead.

All our best wishes to you, Alex.


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A Jeopardy! G.O.A.T. revealed early?

Over the last two weeks, the three most dominant names in Jeopardy! history were brought together for a series of head-to-head-to-head battles to determine The Greatest of All Time.

Brad Rutter (the all-time money leader), Ken Jennings (the record holder for most games won in a row), and James Holzhauer (the dynamo who set daily record after daily record last year) faced off in prime time, the first time in 30 years that Jeopardy! has aired in prime time.

Each hour-long show consisted of two half-hour games, and the player with the highest point total across the two games would be the winner for the night. The first contestant to win three of the hour-long episodes would be declared the champion.

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[Image courtesy of Slate.]

Night One was Tuesday, January 7. The first game went to Jennings, the second to Holzhauer, but Jennings eked out a victory for the night over Holzhauer by a mere $200, winning $63,400 to $63,200.

Night Two was Wednesday, January 8, and Holzhauer won both games, besting Jennings by more than $25,000.

It was now 1-1, with Rutter the only player winless. Sadly, this would remain a pattern for Rutter throughout the contest. Nineteen years out from his original win streak, time was clearly catching up to him.

Night Three was Thursday, January 9, and Jennings returned to his winning ways, taking both games and the victory for the night. Rutter had his best performance yet, coming within $10,000 of Holzhauer’s second-place total.

The viewers — 14 to 15 million each night! — had to wait until the following Tuesday, January 14, for the game to resume.

Night Four saw Jennings take the first game, and Holzhauer bet the farm on the second game’s Final Jeopardy question, only to get it wrong, leaving him with $0 for the second game. Jennings claimed his third victory in four nights, and is now known as The Greatest of All Time.

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[Image courtesy of CNN.]

Unfortunately, this outcome was spoiled days ago for keen-eyed viewers, particularly those who prefer to record/DVR their shows to ensure they don’t miss out on a special event like this.

Anyone who was looking ahead to the second week of shows in order to record them would have no problem setting up the DVR for Night Four on Tuesday.

But anyone who looked forward to record Night Five and beyond was greeted instead by ABC’s usual schedule of shows. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that, by not blocking out the hour for another Jeopardy! prime time show — even tentatively — that most likely meant that there wouldn’t be any more episodes to come after Tuesday.

The championship would be determined on Night Four. Ken Jennings would win.

Sadly, if you were one of those very organized individuals, like my mother was, you had the outcome ruined for you as early as Friday of last week.

What a bummer. You’d think that the programming execs at ABC would have realized this and listed the block going forward for the week, complete with a side note about replacing the show with other programs in case the championship wrapped up early, as they do for the World Series and other sporting events with an uncertain number of games.

It’s an easy mistake to make, particularly with a pre-recorded show like Jeopardy!, but one that spoiled the championship for more than a few.


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A Newsworthy Week for “Jeopardy!”

The Jeopardy! 2019 Tournament of Champions is upon us, and this year’s tournament is attracting more attention than most, as it marks the return of James Holzhauer.

Earlier this year, the sports gambler and trivia master went on a 32-day winning streak, amassing $2,464,216 (the second highest amount in game history), and setting all sorts of records. (He holds 21 of the top 25 spots for highest single-day winnings.)

Now he’s back to compete in the Tournament of Champions, and although his play style remains the same, his performance last night seemed less aggressive than his previous appearances. Sure, he still went for the high money questions early and pursued the Daily Doubles with a vengeance, but his wagers for both Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy weren’t nearly as ambitious as they’d been before.

His lead over his opponents going into Final Jeopardy was insurmountable, and yet, he only made a small wager. Perhaps he feels like he proved himself during his impressive streak, and now he’s just out to play well, dominating through performance rather than riskier high-money wagers.

Holzhauer joins 14 other former champions in this year’s tournament, and his victory last night means he’ll play again next week against the other winners from this week (plus four high-money competitors). More intriguingly, Emma Boettcher — the competitor who ended his winning streak — will be competing on tonight’s show, so we could see a rematch between the two trivia fiends in the very near future.

Holzhauer’s return and the Tournament of Champions caps off a newsworthy week for the famous game show. Earlier this week, former competitor Avi Gupta — a Columbia University freshman who won $100,000 during the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament — donated some of his winnings to the Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute.

Gupta, a long-time fan of both the show and its host, made the donation in honor of Alex Trebek, whose struggles with his own cancer diagnosis have been well documented.

In an interview, Gupta stated that Trebek is someone he has considered a role model his entire life. It’s a kind and thoughtful gesture from a lifelong fan.


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Good News for Alex Trebek?

There have been two major stories in the world of Jeopardy! for the last year. One was the meteoric rise of gambler and champion James Holzhauer, the other was the saga of Alex Trebek’s battle against pancreatic cancer.

Although Holzhauer failed to topple Ken Jennings’ all-time winnings record, we are happy to report that Trebek’s story is on much more of an upswing.

Back when he first announced his diagnosis, Trebek stated, “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” then joked, “I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”

And in a recent video promoting the 36th season of Jeopardy!, Trebek seems cautiously optimistic:

These stories have been corroborated by producer Harry Friedman, who has worked with Trebek since 1997:

Alex is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which is he’s got an iron will and an unequaled determination to beat this. He underwent several rounds of chemo and that brought his numbers down. They were around 1,000 at one point and now they’re down into the high teens.

According to multiple sources, this is an unlikely and encouraging outcome, given the statistics surrounding the disease. Records from the American Cancer Society indicate that approximately 56,770 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, and nearly 80 percent will die from it.

Trebek recently participated in a Purple Stride walk with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. During the event, Alex discussed hopes that he would see his hundredth birthday:

As you all know, survivorship is measured starting from the date you are diagnosed with cancer. And on that scale, my gosh, I’m a 62-day survivor. Give me a break…But I’m working on it. And I promise you this: That if I become a 22-year survivor, you will all be welcomed at my 100th birthday.

Here’s hoping we’re all around to celebrate that joyous occasion with him.


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Alex Trebek Wraps Up His 35th Season of Jeopardy! with a Surprise!

It’s hard to believe that less than two months ago, Jeopardy! was on everyone’s mind as James Holzhauer embarked on his thrilling streak of money-making trivia performances, shattering records and raking in an impressive amount of dough.

Things are a bit quieter now. The show recently wrapped up its 35th season, a landmark few television shows ever reach. And integral to the show’s success is Alex Trebek, who has served as the show’s host since 1984.

Trebek is a certifiable pop culture icon these days. Not only is he a member of that elite pantheon of game show hosts that are instantly recognizable to virtually everyone, but he actually holds the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a game show. He was awarded with the honor on June 13, 2014, having hosted 6,829 episodes (up to that point).

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[Image courtesy of IMDb.]

My personal favorite Trebek moment is when he showed up unexpectedly in an episode of The X-Files, playing one of the mysterious Men in Black. It’s unclear if he was playing himself, though. As Agent Scully states, “Mulder didn’t say it was Alex Trebek, it was just someone who looked incredibly like him.”

Although he received devastating medical news earlier this year — a diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer — he has said in recent interviews that he’s responding exceptionally well to treatment, giving his many fans and well-wishers hope that he will not only see out the end of his contract (currently set to end in 2022), but many more years of health and happiness.

It’s in that spirit that we write today’s blog post, as Season 35 concluded with one last surprise for Mr. Trebek, courtesy of the Jeopardy! All-Stars (Ken Jennings, Austin Rogers, Brad Rutter, and others):

It’s a wonderful gift to a television icon that millions have been welcoming into their homes for decades now. When it comes to figures in the world of puzzles and games, there are few as iconic as Alex Trebek.


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