The attempts to replace Alex Trebek as permanent host of Jeopardy! have not gone super well thus far. Mike Richards, a former executive producer on the show, was named the new host, but ultimately stepped down from the role just days after he was announced after allegations about his past behavior towards women were made public. A few days later, he was removed from his role as EP as well. Meanwhile, Mayim Bialik, who is set to host primetime Jeopardy! specials, has also been hit with a wave of controversy.
Who did Alex Trebek want to replace him?
The horrific attempts to replace Alex have led some to wonder what the host himself said about who he wanted to replace him after he stepped down or died. As it turns out, Alex provided an answer to this question when he was asked, and it was pretty specific. He suggested that CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates and NHL sportscaster Alex Faust would both be good candidates.
Alex made these suggestions during a 2018 interview with Harvey Levin for OBJECTified. “The fellow that does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings, they should consider him,” Alex said of Faust. “There is an attorney, Laura Coates,” he continued. “She’s African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time.”
At the time, both Laura and Faust said they were honored to have been mentioned.
"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)," Laura wrote on Twitter.
It's unclear who will replace Alex Trebek now.
Although the mystery of who would host Jeopardy! briefly appeared to be solved, Mike Richards' resignation leaves it unclear who will host the nightly game show. Neither Laura nor Faust was a part of the guest hosting lineup that filled in following Alex's death in November. Now, some are giving both another look and suggesting that they should have a shot at becoming the full-time host of the show.
Although Alex's wishes should certainly count for something, they definitely aren't the only thing guiding the process of choosing his successor. There have been plenty of calls for the producers behind Jeopardy! to choose someone who is not white or male for the central role. Laura, who has definitely gotten more attention of the two candidates Alex named, would be perfect in that regard.
Alex was a charismatic host, but part of his appeal was that he wasn't a massive celebrity coming into Jeopardy!. That would also be true of someone like Laura, who is a public figure but is not universally known. She could become the host of Jeopardy!, not a famous person who also hosts Jeopardy!.