CNN’s Laura Coates says ‘Jeopardy!’ snubbed her despite Alex Trebek’s blessing

A woman posing in a red velvet suit.
CNN’s Laura Coates attends the 2021 premiere of “A Journal for Jordan” in New York City.
(Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Sony Pictures)
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CNN legal analyst Laura Coates says “Jeopardy!” declined her offer to host the game show, despite Alex Trebek publicly naming her as his potential successor.

On Monday’s episode of “The Tamron Hall Show,” Coates said she “asked for the opportunity” to emcee the program “when they were looking for people to possibly fill in” after Trebek’s death in 2020. But she was allegedly rebuffed.

“I certainly raised my hand and knocked on doors and found them closed,” Coates said. “I asked for the opportunity. 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 vision that you have for yourself — or those that surprised you from other people — don’t align with what happens.”

Sony Pictures Television, which produces “Jeopardy!,” did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Times’ request for comment.

In a 2018 interview, TMZ’s Harvey Levin asked Trebek who would be worthy of hosting “Jeopardy!” after he retired. The Canadian American TV legend named two people: L.A. Kings sportscaster Alex Faust and Coates.

“There is an attorney, Laura Coates,” Trebek said at the time. “She’s African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time.”

While speaking with Hall, Coates said she was “honored” to receive Trebek’s stamp of approval and personally thanked him for his blessing. After Trebek went public with his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Coates — whose grandmother died of the same disease — reached out to him to offer her support.


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“I actually was as shocked as anyone else was when he first said it,” Coates told Hall.

“I never met him. I am a lifelong fan of ‘Jeopardy!’ ... and I was thrilled when he said my name. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this person that I have watched my whole life ... knows my name? Let alone thinks that I would be worthy enough to fill his shoes — which frankly can’t be filled.”

The search for a permanent “Jeopardy!” host is still ongoing after a botched attempt to cast former “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards in the role. A number of broadcast news figures — including Savannah Guthrie, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and CNN’s Anderson Cooper — have served as guest hosts of the series in the wake of Trebek’s death.

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The long-running quiz show is currently hosted by “Big Bang Theory” alum Mayim Bialik and all-time greatest “Jeopardy!” player Ken Jennings, who have been trading shifts since Richards was ousted from the gig.

In a recent interview with The Times, reigning “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider said she would be open to hosting the show at some point — though she fully supports Jennings in the role.

“It would certainly be a cool experience,” she said. “It’s a lot harder than it looks. Whether I’d actually even be good at it, I don’t know ... But yeah, I‘d certainly consider it if somebody asked.”