This is potentially heartbreaking news for Jeopardy fans. Host Alex Trebek, who has hosted the quiz show since it was revived in 1984, is facing contract expiration in 2020. That wouldn’t be a big deal since contracts are renewed all the time, but according to a new interview with TMZ, Trebek said he might not return once his current time is up.
When asked if he could imagine a life without Jeopardy, Trebek said simply, “Sure.” He said that he told a producer on the show recently that a good replacement for the host role, once he vacates, would be Los Angeles Kings’ play-by-play announcer, Alex Faust. Trebek said CNN legal analyst Laura Coates could also carry the torch.
As for the odds that he might renew his contract and stay on as Jeopardy host, Trebek said, “50/50 and a little less,” which seems to suggest that he is ready for retirement. We can’t really blame him, though it’s hard to imagine anyone else with Trebek’s signature question delivery and super-smart quips.
When his contract expires in two years, Trebek will have hosted the show for 36 years, which is an incredibly long time. He’ll also be 80 years old, which seems like a solid year for retirement — and we respect that he’s thinking of possible replacements so fans can get used to the idea now.
Vulture has a few suggestions for Trebek’s replacement as well. The outlet suggested Jeopardy alumni Austin Rogers or Buzzy Cohen to take up the mantel. Cohen in particular has been vocal about his desire to replace Trebek once he retires after he beat Rogers and other champions in a 2017 tournament. “I told the producers when I was back for the tournament, ‘Nobody has asked me, and I’m sure there’s a long line, but I want to put my name on that list when Alex Trebek wants to retire.’ I’d love to do that,” he said.
At any rate, Trebek may be able to imagine a life without Jeopardy, but it’s hard to imagine Jeopardy without Trebek.