Laura Coates on ‘Jeopardy!’ hosting gig: ‘I was told no’
Laura Coates says she was “told no” when she tried to have a shot at hosting “Jeopardy!,” despite Alex Trebek personally recommending her for the job.
“I asked for the opportunity when it came time, when they were looking for people to possibly fill in,” CNN’s senior legal analyst said of the “Jeopardy!” search during a Monday appearance on “The Tamron Hall Show.”
“I certainly raised my hand, and knocked on doors, and found them closed,” Coates revealed.
Several celebrities served as guest hosts of the long-running quiz show last year after Trebek’s 2020 death from pancreatic cancer.
Mike Richards, a then-executive producer on the show, was named its new host in August. But just weeks later, Richards stepped down amid a controversy over past offensive comments he had made on a podcast.
Trebek had floated Coates and sportscaster Alex Faust as possible replacements for him in a 2018 TMZ interview, saying, “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, 41, expressed shock at Trebek making the pitch for her to take the reins.
“I am a lifelong fan of ‘Jeopardy!’. I sometimes will watch it twice in a night and then play it back for my kids so I have all the actual answers, so I look even smarter to my children,” she quipped.
“I was thrilled when [Trebek] said my name and I thought, my God, this person that I 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.”
But when she sought the hosting role, Coates said, “I was told no, which is one of those moments, Tamron, 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 visions that you have for yourself … don’t align with what happens, and that happened there,” the “Just Pursuit” author continued.
“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. Are you kidding me?” Coates said with a grin.
A Sony spokesperson didn’t immediately return ITK’s request for comment about Coates’s remarks.
While saying she was disappointed that the legal expert wasn’t picked for the hosting gig, Hall offered Coates some words of advice: “I will say this over and over not just to you, but to anybody else: Everything that I’ve wanted that I didn’t get, it was revealed to me in time. Why? Things I thought I wanted, turned out not to be for me.”
“Jeopardy!” announced in December that actor Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings would split hosting duties into this year.
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