Former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek wanted this Black woman to replace him

Alex Trebek, the beloved host of Jeopardy! who died following a battle with cancer, had an idea about who should replace him: Laura Coates. The attorney and CNN commentator was friendly with Mr. Trebek, who hosted the show for over 30 years, and a video recently surfaced in which Mr. Trebek suggested Ms. Coates as his replacement. 

In a 2018 appearance on a show hosted by Harvey Levin, Mr. Trebek introduced Ms. Coates as a possible replacement, stating, “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.”

Ms. Coates, a legal analyst for CNN, was flattered and honored by Mr. Trebek’s suggestion in 2018. In a tweet, she confirmed that she was shocked Mr. Trebek thought she would “be a great host of my fave game show ever that I grew up watching.” 

Who is Laura Coates?

Ms. Coates, for her part, attended Princeton University and received her law degree from the University of Minnesota. In addition to legal commentary for CNN, she is also the host of a radio show, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. 

Finding a new host for Jeopardy! has been a controversial process, with fans across the world pushing for LeVar Burton, the beloved host of Reading Rainbow, as a replacement. Mr. Burton, however, was snubbed by the Jeopardy! higher-ups, who initially went with Mike Richards for host. 

However, Mr. Richards, who worked for the program, was not vetted by producers prior to the announcement. As fans soon discovered, he was accused of creating a hostile environment for at least one woman with whom he worked. 

jeopardy laura coates

Laura Coates. PHOTO BY LARRY FRENCH/GETTY IMAGES FOR SIRIUSXM

The search for a permanent host continues

One former coworker from The Price is Right filed a lawsuit against Mr. Richards after he made comments she deemed inappropriate. In response to the recent revelation, Mr. Richards stated, “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right.” 

Jeopardy! reversed course after calls for Mr. Richards’ removal, and have resumed their search for a permanent host who will work alongside Mayim Bialik, who was chosen as a guest host. Fans have started pushing for both Ms. Coates and Mr. Burton, who guest-hosted to critical and fan acclaim. 

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