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'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek gives health update, previews special vault episodes

For the first time in history, Alex Trebek said 'Jeopardy!' is opening up its 'vault' to feature fan-favorite episodes, including his first one as host.

WASHINGTON — Alex Trebek has released a special message for fans to update them on his cancer battle and to discuss how "Jeopardy!" is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I hope you're all doing well during these difficult times," Trebek, sporting a white goatee, said to start off his message. "As many of you know, whenever there is a break in our tape schedule I often take that opportunity to grow some facial hair."

The long-time game show host said he hopes to be returning to the studio to tape new episodes very soon, but in the meantime, they'll be airing "special Jeopardy! episodes that will be coming up in July."

Trebek explained that, for the first time in history, the show's vaults will be opened and some fan-favorite episodes will be aired, including the very first show he ever hosted.

"Mustache and all," Trebek said. Show producers combed through almost 8,000 episodes and found the 20 most compelling shows in the series' history. The throwback episodes are expected to start airing on July 20.

Last year, Trebek revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. While the one-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is just 18%, he hit that milestone in March. 

Trebek, who turns 80 on July 22, said he is still doing well. 

"I've been continuing my treatment and it is paying off. Though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good, I'm feeling great," Trebek described.

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During the message, Trebek also promoted his new book, which is set to be released on July 21. Simon & Schuster announced in April that his memoir “The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life” will come out the day before his 80th birthday.

RELATED: Alex Trebek to release memoir in July

"Once again, I can't wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September," he said ending his message. "Meanwhile, I wish for all of you, stay safe."

Credit: AP
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek speaks at a ceremony honoring Harry Friedman with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The "Jeopardy!" broadcast is as follows:

JULY 20-24: Best of Jeopardy!’s First Decade 

  • Mon., July 20: First Jeopardy! Episode
  • Tue., July 21: First Jeopardy! Surprise Ending
  • Wed., July 22: First Super Champion: Chuck Forrest
  • Thu., July 23: First $100,000 Champion: Frank Spangenberg
  • Fri., July 24: First Big Tournament Final: 10th Anniversary

JULY 27-31: Best of Celebrity Jeopardy!

  • Mon., July 27: Carol Burnett, Regis Philbin, Donna Mills
  • Tue., July 28: Jodie Foster, Nathan Lane, Harry Connick Jr.
  • Wed., July 29: Jeff Probst, Charles Barkley, Martha Stewart
  • Thu., July 30: Wayne Brady, Dana Delany, Eric Idle
  • Fri., July 31: Michael McKean, Cheech Marin, Jane Curtin
  • AUGUST 3-7: Million Dollar Masters Quarterfinals
  • AUGUST 10-12: Million Dollar Masters Semifinals
  • AUGUST 13-14: Million Dollar Masters Finals

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