Alex Trebek wants to continue as the host of Jeopardy! while undergoing cancer treatment, but he has now revealed that his skills "have started to diminish."
The legendary host was interviewed by Canadian newsmagazine W5 and opened up about how the treatment could cause him to leave the show behind earlier than he thought it would.
“I talk to the producers about this all the time now. I say, ‘Look, I’m slurring my words. My tongue doesn’t work as well as it used to,'” Trebek began.
“The chemo has caused sores inside my mouth. It makes it difficult for me to speak and enunciate properly. And they say, ‘Well, we don’t notice.’ I say, ‘I notice those things.’ And I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience who notice also. But they’re forgiving, and I’ll accept that.”
Trebek was then asked if he would leave the show behind when he was dissatisfied with his performance.
“[It will be] when I feel that my skills have diminished to the point that I notice and am bothered by it,” he continued.
“I notice now, but I’m not as bothered by it because all of the people around me are saying, ‘No, it’s OK.’ But there will come a point where they will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s OK.'”
Trebek announced in September that he was forced to restart chemotherapy treatment after a series of setbacks that caused his cancer markers to rise.
After his initial diagnosis, he revealed that chemotherapy had been successful, with doctors saying that he was close to remission.
But things changed for the worse when he tried immunotherapy.
“What I’ve discovered is not only have I become the de facto flag carrier for [pancreatic cancer], but a lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance. And that’s tough,” Trebek added.
“It’s tough trying to be as optimistic as you can when the other person feels none of that optimism. They feel only despair."
"I don’t know if I’m strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it’s tough on me. But it is what it is, and I do the best I can."
Watch the full interview below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.