CNN’s Laura Coates says ‘Jeopardy!’ producers rejected her as host

Fans still wonder why they didn't honor Alex Trebek’s wishes and choose someone he wanted to follow him as host, including Coates.

Loading the player...

The search for the right person to replace Alex Trebek as host of the iconic game show Jeopardy! was indeed a wild one. 

After months of auditions by guest hosts and an online petition to select actor and award-winning former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton as Trebek’s successor, the show named Mike Richards, one of its executive producers, to the post — only for Richards to step down weeks later as past allegations of misconduct resurfaced

CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates said Monday she was snubbed as a possible host of “Jeopardy” after Alex Trebek’s 2020 death, despite his desire that she succeed him in the role. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

But many Jeopardy! fans continue to wonder why its producers did not honor the ailing Trebek’s wishes by choosing one of the people he wanted to follow him in the role, including CNN analyst Laura Coates

In an interview with Tamron Hall on The Tamron Hall Show Monday, Coates said she was absolutely interested in hosting the show, but that she was snubbed by its producers. 

“I was honored by it, and I had a chance to thank him and also to reach out to him while he struggled with pancreatic cancer,” Coates. 41, told Hall of Trebek’s sentiments. “And I asked for the opportunity when it came time when they were looking for people to possibly fill in. I certainly raised my hand and knocked on doors and found them closed.”

“And I asked for the opportunity,” she added. “I was told ‘no,’ which is one of those moments when you have to remember to wear your own jersey. 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 closed her thoughts on the subject with a joke, saying, “But I tell you, with the work I do now, do you know how much easier my life would be if I had the answers in advance?” 

It was in a 2018 TMZ interview with Harvey Levin that Trebek said he thought Coates or L.A. Kings announcer Alex Faust would also be a great fit for Jeopardy! host. 

At the time, Coates tweeted she was “incredibly honored” and “humbled” that Trebek knew who she was and thought she would “be a great host of my fave game show ever that I grew up watching” with her family and continues to watch with her children.

The attorney and analyst remains a regular fixture on CNN.

Currently, actress Mayim Bialik and popular show champion Ken Jennings are splitting Jeopardy! hosting duties for the remainder of Season 38 as the search for its permanent host continues. 

Have you subscribed to the Grio podcasts “Dear Culture” or “Acting Up?” Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...