Alex Trebek talks “Jeopardy!” retirement plans and possible successors

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As far as Alex Trebek is concerned, 2016 will mark the end of his reign as host of "Jeopardy!" Having started the gig in 1984, Trebek told TV Guide this week that he considers his current contract to be the last one he'll be offered.

"I suspect this will be my last contract," he said. "I'm not going to go on forever. My contract expires in 2016. There is a time for all things and my time might be coming."

But at only 72 now, it's not like the Canadian is just going to put up his feet and commit to retirement -- Trebek already has plans to take an oil-drilling course, and to get involved in more charity work. That, and stay in the television circuit.

"I also wouldn't mind hosting a once-a-week type show like what Charlie Rose does," he revealed. "And I'd like the Pope to be my first guest."

See also: What is the sexiest 'Jeopardy!' category ever? (VIDEO)

But what about "Jeopardy!"? Considering just how big a deal it was when Bob Barker stepped down as host of "The Price is Right," can anyone actually fill Trebek's shoes? Although nobody's officially landed the gig yet, names like Matt Lauer and Anderson Cooper have been tossed around in terms of Trebek's successor.

"Any of them could do it," Trebek said of Lauer and Cooper. "Both men are a lot younger than I am, and it's a pretty static format, even though the guests and clues change, which is exciting. If Matt Lauer would come over to 'Jeopardy!,' I'd be happy to take over his job on 'Today.'"

See also: Trebek returns to 'Jeopardy!' after heart attack

But if Lauer or Anderson opt out of helming "Jeopardy!", who else would be a worthy candidate? Would it be so out of the question to bring in a female host like Ellen Degeneres? She already has her own bankable fan base, and has already proven herself able to juggle both her daytime talk show and evening gig (see: her stint as "American Idol" judge). Or what about Aisha Tyler, who's about to host "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" on The CW this summer? A lot has changed since Trebek first began hosting 1984 -- and despite the progress made by female entertainers, we've yet to see any really hold down the fort in terms of game shows (particularly host duties).

Of course, plucking an edgier comic -- someone like Paul F. Tompkins or Patton Oswalt, for example -- would reel in younger audiences, or anyone with an affinity for comedy. Especially since by 2016, we can only assume that those with large Internet and Twitter fan bases (in addition to lengthy resumes) will be even bigger draws than they are right now. "Jeopardy!" -- a show that's sustained decades -- could be the game show change the status quo.

Who do you think they should consider to succeed Alex Trebek?