In a 2018 interview with TMZ founder Harvey Levin for his show OBJECTified, Trebek was asked who he thought would make a “good, solid host of the show” should he retire. Trebek named the two candidates at the top of his list: CNN legal analyst Laura Coates and L.A. Kings hockey announcer Alex Faust.
“I mentioned to our producer not so long ago that the fellow that does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings — they should consider him,” Trebek told Levin. “He’s young. He’s attractive. His first name is Alex.”
When asked about a woman in the role, Trebek mentioned Coates, noting that she is “very bright” and “very personable.” At the time, Coates tweeted her response, writing, “Incredibly honored & humbled @Jeopardy Alex Trebek 1) knows who I am 2) thinks I’d be a great host of my fave game show ever that I grew up watching w/ my family & still watch w/ my own kids.”
Incredibly honored & humbled @Jeopardy Alex Trebek 1) knows who I am 2) thinks I’d be a great host of my fave game show ever that I grew up watching w/ my family & still watch w/ my own kids (who saw him say this & now think I’m a genius) #Dying https://t.co/qdMxWc9g5e via @TMZ
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) July 30, 2018
However, neither Coates nor Faust received an audition for the role and weren’t included in the revolving door of guest hosts. It’s especially astounding in Coates’ case as only one Black woman, Robin Roberts, was included in the guest host lineup.
This has upset some fans who believe Sony has gone against Trebek’s wishes in hiring Richards as the new permanent host.
I love Alex, an earthly angelic man. I hate how they’re disrespecting him. He spent a lifetime honoring Jeopardy, with zero controversies, and this is what happens after he dies? Laura Coates deserves her moment in Jeopardy. She was his crowned princess.
— IntheCut-CM (@inthecutcm) August 19, 2021
— KD (@Fly_Sistah) August 19, 2021
Thank you!!!! I love LeVar but Laura Coates wasn’t even asked to guest host and she is who Alex wanted as his replacement.
— Denise White 🇨🇦 (@deeporter_white) August 19, 2021
— Lisa Hamner (@lisa_hamner) August 19, 2021
That’s right folks, it’s true.
In 2018, Alex had a gaggle with the Ten Mile Zone (TMZ) and he told them he had 2 names in mind on whom to replace him: LA Kings announcer Alex Faust & CNN/SiriusXM legal voice Laura Coates.
Don’t know if you noticed, but neither got a phone call. https://t.co/uxESprMjci pic.twitter.com/dCVYmZrAex
— Kevin D. Grüssing (pronounced Grew-Sing) (@KevDGrussing) August 19, 2021
Coates herself got involved with a pointed tweet, which included one of her favorite Trebek quotes.
— Laura Coates (@thelauracoates) August 19, 2021
Richards was appointed the new host earlier this month (with Mayim Bialik hosting spinoffs and specials). However, several controversies have arisen since the announcement, including employment disputes that accuse Richards of pregnancy discrimination on The Price is Right and sexist comments made on an old podcast series.
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry,” Richards said in a statement earlier this week.
Following The Ringer‘s report into Richards insensitive comments made on the podcast, the Anti-Defamation League tweeted that the exec producer’s pattern of behavior warrants investigation.
New “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards’ disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians are no laughing matter.
Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm.
This reported pattern warrants an investigation. https://t.co/0D8D7441vU
— ADL (@ADL) August 19, 2021
Jeopardy!, Weeknights, Check local listings