When the late Alex Trebek was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, many fans wondered who was going to be his replacement if he decided to step down.
Although Trebek continued to work until he passed away in November 2020, there was no definitive successor set in place. Instead, “Jeopardy!” allowed over a dozen celebrities to “audition” for the role. Some of the guest hosts, like Dr. Mehmet Oz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, drew harsh criticism for their political leanings.
Although there was plenty of controversy over “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton and his audition, many fans were quick to point out that Alex had already named who he would like to see replace him on the iconic podium.
That would be CNN legal analyst and radio host Laura Coates. In a new interview on “Tamron Hall,” Coates revealed that she did ask to try her hand at hosting “Jeopardy!” And she “was told ‘no.’”
Laura Coates ‘Was Told No’ When She Asked For A Chance To Guest Host
Coates said that she “asked for the opportunity when it came time, when they were looking for people to possibly fill in” for Alex’s replacement after Twitter started buzzing with the news that Alex had wanted her to succeed him.
Although producers finally surrendered to a fan petition and gave Burton a guest-hosting slot, Coates said that she “certainly raised [her] hand and knocked on doors and found them closed.”
“I asked for the opportunity,” she said. “I was told ‘no.’”
So far, no representatives for “Jeopardy!” have provided any comment as to why Coates was denied a chance to guest host.
“You have to remember to continue to be your own champion in other respects and sometimes the vision that you have for yourself, or those that surprise you — other people — don’t align with what happens and that happened there,” Coates said.
Laura Coates Reacted To Mike Richards Scandal
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) August 19, 2021
Although Laura Coates didn’t get a chance to guest host, she didn’t mind throwing some shade at Mike Richards after the executive producer announced that he would take over for the late Trebek. Many fans rejected the decision, when talents like Mayim Bialik, Ken Jennings, and Buzzy Cohen were some of the favorites to host.
Although the former “The Big Bang Theory” star was selected to host special tournaments, it was Richards who would become the new face of “Jeopardy!” every night, and some fans weren’t having it. After fans unearthed offensive comments about women and minorities that Richards had said on his podcast, Richards quickly stepped down from his role as host and was fired from his role as executive producer about a week later.
Coates was one of the first to react to the news on Twitter. She tweeted, “One of my favorite #AlexTrebek quotes. #WednesdayWisdom.” Attached to the tweet was a photo of Alex saying, “Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.”
Who Is The New Permanent Host Of ‘Jeopardy!’ Now?
After letting the “Call Me Kat” star take over for the beginning of season 38, the show gave Ken Jennings – the highest-rated guest host and “Jeopardy! Greatest Of All Time” tournament winner – to return to the podium to host while Bialik was off filming the second season of her Fox sitcom.
Fans seem just fine letting Bialik continue hosting tournaments while Jennings hosts regular gameplay, and Sony has since announced that Bialik and Jennings will continue to tag-team hosting positions throughout 2022.
It is interesting to note, however, that none of Alex’s selections ever got a chance to guest host “Jeopardy!”
Before he passed, Trebek had told TMZ, “There is an attorney, Laura Coates. She’s African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time. Very bright, very personable.” He also said that NHL sportscaster Alex Faust would be a good pick. Although sportscaster Joe Buck was given a guest-hosting slot, Faust was not.
“I actually was as shocked as anyone else was when he first said it,” Coates recalled. “And I was thrilled when he said my name.”
“I thought, ‘My God. This person that I have watched my whole life really, even knows my name let alone thinks that I would be worthy enough to fill his shoes which frankly can’t be filled?’” she continued.
She added that, fortunately, she was able to speak to the late host and personally thank him before he passed away.