By Patrick Kevin Day
Los Angeles Times
---- — LOS ANGELES — Speculation has been swirling recently that when Alex Trebek’s contract is up in 2016, the long-running host of “Jeopardy” will finally retire.
But don’t say that to Alex Trebek.
“Everybody’s speculating on my retirement and I don’t know why,” Trebek told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s silly. Somebody asked me if I’ve given any thoughts to retiring. Well, yes, I’ve given thoughts to retiring, for crying out loud. I’ve been doing the show for 29 years. Why wouldn’t I think about retiring? Everybody assumes from my having said that, that he’s retiring. Well, no. I’ve been thinking about it. So allow me to think about it.”
Reports recently speculated that Trebek would be stepping down at the end of the 2015-2016 season, when the host will be 76 years old. But according to Trebek, who is just 72 now, he’s still enjoying the job and won’t decide to quit until he feels he can’t do it anymore. And when that time comes, don’t expect much of a heads-up.
“It’ll probably happen very quickly,” he said. “There won’t be any fanfare. It’ll be like the time I shaved my mustache on a whim. I’ll just ask the director to leave me 20 or 30 seconds at the end of the program to say a few words and I’ll say a few words and thank people and be on my way.”
Trebek professes to be completely uninterested in the kind of long goodbyes that Johnny Carson or Regis Philbin had when they stepped down.
“This isn’t the Alex Trebek farewell tour,” he said. “It’s no big deal.”
As for who would or should replace him? Though Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper have been mentioned as possible replacements, Trebek is keeping out of it.
“It could be anybody,” he said. “Could be a woman. I don’t concern myself with that because that is not a decision I will be involved in.”
However, he isn’t completely dismissive of his three decades on the air or how synonymous he has become with the “Jeopardy” brand.
“I hope I’ll be hard to replace. That would be a good thing for my legacy. But anybody can be replaced. I can be replaced.”