Laura Coates alleges she was snubbed as possible Jeopardy host despite Alex Trebek's support

·3 min read

Jeopardy host Laura Coates? It was a possibility for the CNN senior legal analyst and SiriusXM host, who told Tamron Hall that she was interested in pursuing the gig after the late Alex Trebek named her as a possible replacement, but alleges that she was slighted during the search process.

"I asked for the opportunity and was told no," Coates told Hall while appearing on her talk show Monday. "And it was one of those moments where you have to remember to wear your own jersey. You have to remember to be your own champion in other respects and sometimes the vision you have for yourself or those that surprise you from other people don't align with what happens and that happened there."

A representative for Jeopardy did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment.

Laura Coates and Alex Trebek
Laura Coates and Alex Trebek

Paul Morigi/WireImage; Carol Kaelson/Jeopardy Productions Laura Coates and 'Jeopardy' host Alex Trebek

In 2018, Trebek proposed Coates as his successor during a 2018 interview with TMZ's Harvey Levin, telling the outlet "there is an attorney, Laura Coates, she's African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time." Coates, for her part, was "shocked" that she was even considered to be in the running.

"I'd never met him. I'm a lifelong fan of Jeopardy," Coates explained. "And I was thrilled when he said my name and I thought 'my god, this person I've watched my whole life really, he knows my name, let alone thinks that I would be worthy enough to fill these shoes that I frankly think can't be filled. I was honored by it."

Coates went on to explain that she did have the chance to reach out to Trebek before he died in November 2020 from pancreatic cancer and that when the show finally started looking for hosts to fill in for the beloved star, she attempted to follow up on his proposal.

"I certainly raised my hand and knocked on doors and found them closed," she told Hall.

Since Trebek's death, the show has had a tumultuous time finding an official replacement host. Jeopardy producer Mike Richards was initially named as a permanent host but following a controversial exit that ended with him stepping down from the position, the show enlisted former champion Ken Jennings and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik as permanent co-hosts. It's not clear whether or not Jennings and Bialik are going to become Jeopardy's new permanent hosts; it was previously revealed that a search is ongoing for Trebek's replacement but currently no news has been confirmed.

For her part, Coates is able to joke about "the job that wasn't," maintaining her current gigs keep her more than a little busy—but that it would be nice to have some help.

"With the work I do now, do you know how much easier life would be if I had the answers in advance? Are you kidding me?" Coates told Hall with a laugh. "It would be great!"

Watch the interview above.

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