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Alex Trebek's Hand-Picked 'Jeopardy!' Replacement Was Denied Hosting Gig

Trebek picked Laura Coates as his replacement, only for both to be denied.

Many candidates were considered to replace beloved host Alex Trebek on hit game show, Jeopardy! Fan favorites like Levar Burton and Aaron Rogers guest hosted as a chance to try out for the position, until the 38th season settled on Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings. As it turns out, the one candidate who was not allowed to try out, was the one personally picked by Trebek.


CNN legal analyst and radio host, Laura Coates, was designated as one of Trebek's choices to replace him on Jeopardy!. As Trebek told TMZ initially,

“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."

Coates, a long-time viewer and fan, shared her reaction to Trebek's comments,

“I actually was as shocked as anyone else was when he first said it. 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?’”

Unfortunately, Coates was never allowed to guest host, or try out for Jeopardy!. Despite calling multiple times and advocating for herself, Coates claims she was simply told "No".

When the decision to make executive producer Mike Richards the new host backfired after previous sexist comments of his leaked, Coates took to Twitter to instead spread positivity through some of Trebek's words. She shared his quote,

“Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.”

While she won't be able to host her favorite show, at least for now, Coates is nonetheless grateful. She mentions that she was since able to thank Trebek personally, speaking with him shortly before his death to pancreatic cancer.

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