This Is Who Alex Trebek Wanted to Replace Him as the Next "Jeopardy" Host

Before he passed, the beloved host said he would want this celeb to be his replacement.

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In households across the nation, Jeopardy has been a constant since the '80s, and beloved host Alex Trebek had been along for the ride for nearly 37 years. Many were saddened to hear about the host passing from pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, but even through his battle, he had hopes for the show and where it could go. In an interview earlier this year, Trebek joked about who he would want to replace him as the next Jeopardy host, naming an equally beloved celeb: Betty White. Read on for more thoughts from the iconic game show host, and for more celebrities fighting health battles, Al Roker Says There's Good and Bad News About Prostate Cancer Diagnosis.

Trebek revealed in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which was the cause of his death in November of this year. In July, Trebek invited ABC News' T.J. Holmes to his home for an interview with Good Morning America where he talked about Jeopardy, his battle with cancer, and the ongoing pandemic.

When asked about a potential replacement, Trebek said, "I joke with the audience all the time and I say, 'Betty White,' because they want somebody younger, somebody funnier. Betty and I have been friends for a long, long time."

But despite already having a backup in mind, Trebek wasn't ready to end his tenure as Jeopardy host, even with his cancer diagnosis. Just a few weeks after this interview, Trebek started filming new episodes of the game show, all the way up until Oct. 29.

"It sure would be nice to get back to work, I miss it," Trebek said in July. "It's been part of my life—a very important part of my life—for 36 years … I expect to be hosting the show, if I am around."

According to Variety, Sony said that the show will not immediately address plans to appoint a successor to Trebek. But they did reveal that Trebek's last episode of Jeopardy will air on Christmas Day (Dec. 25) this year.

"We lost a legend and a beloved member of the Sony Pictures family," Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a statement. "For 37 amazing years, Alex was that comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world. He was the heart and soul of Jeopardy and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives."

For a man so loved by so many, Trebek had many moments over the years that have brought smiles to everyone. Keep reading for those golden moments, and if you're a fan of the show, Can You Correctly Answer These Daily Double Jeopardy Questions?

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When he arrived on set without his pants

alex trebek
Shutterstock

In 2007, Trebek opened up one episode of Jeopardy by walking out in his regular suit top, but on bottom? He was just in his boxers.

"I was informed backstage a few minutes ago that our three contestants, Ken, Brad, and Jerome, wanted to relieve some of the tension and they said, 'We must do the program without trousers,'" Trebek said, so he started the show sans pants. But after seeing that the three contestants hadn't held up their side of the deal, he went backstage to put his pants back on. Well played! And for more fun moments from the show, revisit these Wrong Jeopardy Answers That Are Totally Hilarious.

2
When he Auto-Tuned himself for a category

Alex Trebek award show
AB Forces News Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

During a 2010 episode, one category was "Alex Meets Auto-Tune," which consisted of Trebek singing various songs with Auto-Tune, including "Farmer in the Dell," "Oh, Susannah," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Go Down Moses," and "Oh, Danny Boy."

"You know, I sound that way every day when I'm not hosting Jeopardy," Trebek joked. And for more fun content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

3
When he showed up on Saturday Night Live's "Celebrity Jeopardy!"

Alex trebek on snl celebrity jeopardy
NBC

Will Ferrell played Trebek is a series of SNL sketches called "Celebrity Jeopardy!" from 1996 to 2002. And on Ferrell's last episode as a regular cast member in 2002, the real Trebek made a gracious cameo appearance to send the actor off. "What a ride it has been," Trebek said. And for more interesting news from SNL, discover who the cast deemed The Worst SNL Host of All Time.

4
When he had an emotional reaction to one contestant's answer

CBS

After revealing that he had cancer, Trebek continued to host and film episodes of the show. And during the Final Jeopardy round on the Nov. 11, 2019 episode, one contestant's answer was "What is, We love you, Alex!'" This moment clearly touched the host and he responded, "That's very kind of you, thank you." And for more heartwarming celebrity content, Dolly Parton Still Uses This Surprising Method to Message People.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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