Trebek says he needs 30 seconds for exit on final ‘Jeopardy’

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Alex Trebek

FILE – In this April 30, 2017, file photo, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek speaks at the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Calif. Trebek has returned to work, saying he’s “on the mend” following treatment for pancreatic cancer. The 79-year-old posted a video Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, on Twitter showing him back on the game show’s set. He actually started work on July 22, his birthday. New episodes of the upcoming Season 36 are slated to begin airing on Sept. 9. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek says he’s already rehearsed what he’s going to say to the audience on his final show, whenever that may be.

Trebek, host of the popular game show since 1984, announced last March that he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer but will continue his job while still able.

In an interview on ABC broadcast in primetime Thursday night, Trebek said he’ll ask the director to leave him 30 seconds at the end of his last taping.

“I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me…then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success,” he said. “And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”

Trebek has said in the past that he will stay “as long as my skills have not diminished,” but told ABC’s Michael Strahan that the process had already begun. He did not specify what he meant.

If there is a target date for his exit, he isn’t letting on. “Jeopardy!” tapes each show weeks in advance.

Trebek and his wife, Jean, sat down for the interview to promote a special tournament featuring three of the show’s best and best-known contestants: Brad Rutter, Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

That tournament starts airing on Tuesday.

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