James Holzhauer named Alex Trebek the "greatest host of syndicated TV"

By Ashley Boucher
January 10, 2020 12:39 AM

Jeopardy! contestant James Holzhauer voluntarily lost some points during Thursday night’s match to honor game show host Alex Trebek.

Holzhauer, who has been competing against fellow Jeopardy! alums Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter (the three highest money-winners in the competition’s history) in the show’s ongoing Greatest of All Time competition, purposefully answered the question in Final Jeopardy incorrectly in order to call Trebek the “greatest host of syndicated TV.”

The second Final Jeopardy answer of the night was, “These 2 foreign-born directors have each won 2 best director Oscars, but none of their films has won best picture.” The question ended up stumping all three contestants. (Answer: Who are Ang Lee and Alfonso Cuaron?).

Holzhauer created his own question: “Who is the GHOST? (greatest host of syndicated TV)?” and joking wrote “Pat Sajak” before crossing out the Wheel of Fortune host’s name and writing Trebek’s.

“I wish you had risked more points!” Trebek said as he read Holzhauer’s question.

Holzhauer, Jennings and Rutter completed night three of the Greatest of All Time competition on Thursday, which will continue every weeknight until one player wins three matches. So far, Jennings has won two and Holzhauer has won one.

Alex Trebek, James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter
Eric McCandless/ABC

This isn’t the first time that a contestant has thrown away points to show their love for Trebek, who is battling pancreatic cancer.

In November, Dhruv Gaur used Final Jeopardy as an opportunity to spread some love for the longtime game show host with his answer.

“Did you come up with the right one? No?” Trebek asked Gaur as his answer to the final clue appeared on the screen.

“What is we love you Alex,” Trebek read aloud. “That’s very kind, thank you.”

James Holzhauer
Eric McCandless/ABC

After seeing that Guar gave up nearly all of his remaining $2,000 on the incorrect answer, Trebek seemed to hold back tears of gratitude for the supportive words.

“Cost you $1,995. You’re left with five bucks,” Trebek said.

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019, Trebek finished one round of treatment in August before revealing in September on Good Morning America that he was once again undergoing chemotherapy.

Alex Trebek
Eric McCandless/ABC

“I was doing so well and my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer, so we were all very optimistic,” the longtime game show host said at the time.

“They said, ‘Good, we’re going to stop chemo, we’ll start you on immunotherapy,’ and I lost about 12 lbs. in a week and my numbers went sky-high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed,” he said.

But cancer isn’t deterring Trebek from his hosting duties.

While he told Canada’s CTV News, “I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish,” in October, a co-worker of Trebek’s told PEOPLE in December that Trebek “has no plans to quit, and is absolutely not announcing his retirement [anytime soon].”