Alex Trebek’s no-nonsense tone is something of his trademark. The “Jeopardy!” host has employed it in more than 6,800 episodes of the game show, doling out kind rebukes and droll affirmations to players.
Trebek used that same tone Thursday to announce on YouTube that he’s on a leave of absence from the show after undergoing brain surgery for blood clots – medically known as subdural hematoma – that were “caused by a fall I endured two months ago.”
Wearing a yellow sweater, jeans and a blue “Jeopardy!” hat, the 77-year-old wryly addressed the camera, calling the procedure “a slight medical problem.”
“Surgery was performed. After two days in the hospital, I came home to start recovery,” he said. “The prognosis is excellent, and I expect to be back in the studio taping more ‘Jeopardy!’ programs very, very soon.”
Trebek was admitted to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Dec. 15 and underwent surgery the next day, Sony Pictures Entertainment said in a statement. He was released from the hospital on Dec. 18.
Trebek is expected to make a full recovery and to begin taping the show again in mid-January, the studio added.
“Jeopardy!” is filmed months in advance, so the brief filming hiatus won’t impact its broadcast schedule, save for one exception. The College Championship, which was scheduled to be taped now, will be filmed in March and air in April.
Trebek recently renewed his contract to continue hosting the game show through the 2019-2020 season, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced in May.
The game show, which is in its 34th season, has been hosted by Trebek since it was revived in 1984.
When he hosted his 6,829th episode of “Jeopardy!” in June 2014, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded him the world record for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter on same show
The news release announcing his record said, “Alex has been a mainstay of the show for all 30 seasons and has never missed an episode due to illness.”
The only time someone else hosted the program in that time, the release added, was on April 1, 1997, when he and longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak switched shows for a day as an April Fool’s gag.
“It’s an honor to hold the Guinness World Record for hosting ‘Jeopardy!,’ which I’ve often said is the best of reality TV,” Trebek said at the time.
Not many game show hosts have earned the celebrity status Trebek has.
For decades, he has appeared as himself on popular sitcoms ranging from “The Simpsons” to “Cheers” to “Beverly Hills, 90210.” On the final episode of “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert boarded a sleigh loaded with three iconic figures: Santa Claus, Abraham Lincoln and Trebek. And one of the most enduring sketches on “Saturday Night Live” found Will Ferrell impersonating the host in a mock “Celebrity Jeopardy!”
Trebek’s name trended on Twitter Thursday night into early Friday morning, as fans poured out support for the host.
“I wish Alex Trebek a speedy recovery. You’re in my thoughts/tweets,” tweeted one user.