'Jeopardy!' Host Alex Trebek to Skip Canadian Screen Awards Appearance

Stewart Cook/ABC
Alex Trebek

The Canada-born game show host won't attend the awards show in person, as organizers had hoped, and instead will tape an acceptance speech.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is to skip the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards, where he is set to receive a special tribute on March 29 in Toronto as he battles stage IV pancreatic cancer, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The 79-year-old Canada-born game show host was previously announced as the recipient of a special honor for his contribution to the media industry after returning to host Jeopardy! in August 2019. But the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, which organizes Canada's national film and TV awards and had been waiting to see if Trebek could attend in person despite his health challenges, confirmed he will tape his acceptance speech to air during the nationwide telecast on the CBC network.

It's understood the decision to bypass the Canadian Screen Awards was made as Trebek underwent cancer treatment and chemotherapy and preceded the current coronavirus outbreak that has spread to Canada.

The Academy separately confirmed that it is consulting with municipal, provincial and federal authorities on the virus outbreak issues as it goes ahead with plans for the Canadian Screen Awards events to take place March 23-29 in Toronto.

"At this time, there is no recommendation to postpone or cancel our activities and we are proceeding as planned. We appreciate this is a developing scenario and we will, of course, notify all of our stakeholders immediately in the event this changes," a spokesperson for the Academy told THR.

The Academy has, however, delayed its Family Fan Day event on March 28 in Toronto over coronavirus fears. The event would have seen fans interact with the cast of local TV shows like Murdoch Mysteries, Kim's Convenience, Frankie Drake Mysteries and My Perfect Landing a day before the main awards show.

"Unfortunately, because of the presence of young children and the 'meet and greet' format, Family Fan Day has been determined to be a higher risk than other Screen Week events. As such, we have made the decision to postpone Family Fan Day," the Academy said in a statement.

The Academy also urged anyone who is "unwell to any degree" to stay away from Canadian Screen Week events and said that award show attendees should "refrain from shaking hands, kissing or hugging at the events."

March 11, 9:30 a.m. Updated with news the Family Fan Day will be postponed amid coronavirus issues.