Alex Trebek Passes Away: Is the Future of “Jeopardy!” in Jeopardy?


In a divided world, Alex Trebek had the ability to bring family and friends together for a quick thirty minutes of light-hearted fun, and his quick wit will be missed. Photo Credit: Tara Goff

Tara Goff

After 36 years of dedicated work, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek passed away at 80 years old. This came as a result of his stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019. Trebek continued to host throughout his treatment, initially saying that it was going well until more recently, when he announced that he would complete only one more round of chemotherapy.


Pancreatic cancer has a very low survival rate of only nine percent, and upon diagnosis Trebek said “I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer.” He continued to raise awareness for the disease in hopes of saving others from his own experience.


Trebek started hosting “Jeopardy!” in 1984 after Art Fleming hosted from 1964 to 1975. Since then, he has set an example of a put-together host who runs an organized show and is smart enough to be a contestant himself. He has also made his audience laugh, including the time he walked out without pants on to ease the nerves of his contestants and when he switched places with Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune, on April Fools’ Day.


Freshman Elise Mulkey was deeply saddened by Trebek’s passing. She admired his kind and collective spirit, and says that “he just had such a great smile and feeling even though I didn’t know him personally.” She also mentioned how people might tune in to see what the show is like without him, but viewers might “decrease because people don’t like it as much without him.”


Trebek’s witty ways will be missed not only by his audience, but by contestants as well. Two of the greatest contestants in the history of the show took to Twitter to comment on his death. Ken Jennings, who has the longest winning streak on the game show, tweeted about how Alex was “a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him.” James Holzhauer, who won the most money in the shortest amount of time, added how he admired Trebek’s courage and how he will “never be replaced in our hearts.”


As for the future of the show, a new host is up in the air. Trebek had planned on not making a big deal before retiring and asked production to simply allow him a quick thirty-seconds at the end of the show when he decided his time came. While Trebek jokingly mentioned Betty White taking over before his passing, it is rumored that Ken Jennings will take the position. Mulkey says the show should have multiple different hosts to avoid feeling like Trebek is being replaced. Haley Goff, another “Jeopardy!” fan and Roswell High alum, is also upset by Trebek’s passing and fears the future of the show. “It simply won’t be the same. They should just cancel the show all together,” she says. Regardless, episodes will continue to air with Trebek hosting until Christmas Day.


Alex Trebek’s legacy will live on through previously aired episodes and constant support from devoted fans. His memoir, “‘The Answer Is…’: Reflections on My Life,” dives deeper into his life and work, keeping his passion for “Jeopardy!” alive.