These Are the 3 People Alex Trebek Suggested to Replace Him on "Jeopardy!"
In a couple of resurfaced interviews, the late host offered some recommendations.
Amid the news that Jeopardy! is still looking for a new permanent host, a video has resurfaced with a couple suggestions from the beloved former host himself. In 2018, Alex Trebek gave two Jeopardy! host suggestions during an interview with OBJECTified, a show that was hosted by TMZ founder Harvey Levin. And while Trebek joked in the past that Betty White should be the host after him, his suggestions in the 2018 video are more serious.
Trebek died in November 2020 of pancreatic cancer, and the process to replace him has been a rocky journey. Starting in January 2021, the game show began using a series of guest hosts, including celebrities, news anchors, and past contestants. In early August, the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, was named as the new permanent host (with actor Mayim Bialik hosting specials), but after lawsuits and offensive comments from his past came to light, he stepped down as host. (He remains the executive producer and will be undergoing sensitivity training.) Now, the show is moving back to guest hosts as the search continues. And perhaps Trebek's suggestions should be considered. Read on to see who he thought could be a fit.
One of Trebek's picks is a hockey announcer.
In the interview, Levin and Trebek talked about the chances that he would retire in 2020 when his contract was up, and Trebek said, "Fifty-fifty and a little less." Levin then asked, "Who would be a good, solid host of the show if you retired?" Trebek responded, "Mentioned to our producer not so long ago that the fellow who does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings, they should consider him."
Trebek was referring to Alex Faust, who is still the play-by-play announcer for the Kings today and also works for Tennis Channel and Fox Sports. In response to Trebek's comment, Faust tweeted in 2018, I guess there are worse ways to randomly see your name show up on TMZ! I'm flattered by Mr. Trebek's kind words, and delighted to hear he's a big @LAKings fan!"
Trebek continued of Faust in the interview, "He's young. He's attractive. His first name is Alex. It wouldn't be a big hardship for [announcer] Johnny Gilbert to say, 'And now, here is the host of Jeopardy!, Alex not-Trebek!'"
He also suggested a lawyer and TV commentator.
Levin also asked Trebek if he had a suggestion of a woman who could be the host of Jeopardy!. "There is an attorney, Laura Coates," Trebek said. "She's African American, and she appears on some of the cable news show from time to time. Very bright, very personable."
Coates is a legal analyst for CNN and also hosts the SiriusXM radio show The Laura Coates Show. Like Faust, Coates also responded to Trebek's kind words. She tweeted at the time, "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."
In another interview, he named a classic movies buff.
While appearing at the 92nd Street Y in 2019, Trebek again suggested Coates and Faust when talking about a potential replacement, and also put forth two other names. Page Six reported that he mentioned Ben Mankiewicz, who is currently a host on Turner Classic Movies. Mankiewicz responded by tweeting the Page Six story and writing, "Hmm…What a nice thing to read from the best game show host ever."
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He also gave a more irreverent option.
Also while appearing at the 92nd Street Y, Trebek said an old buddy of his should get the job. "It's probably going to be a woman, somebody younger, somebody bright, somebody personable, somebody with a great sense of humor. So I nominated Betty White." White, who is 99, was born 18 years before Trebek.
Fans think Coates and Faust should get their chance to audition.
In response to the resurfaced video of Trebek speaking with Levin, many fans have taken to Twitter to request that 41-year-old Coates and 32-year-old Faust get their shot at the job by getting to be a guest host—especially now that the show will be using guests hosts again following Richards' resignation.
"My Jeopardy! take is that Alex himself suggested two ideas for replacements, and neither one got a guest host shot. If they add more guests in the upcoming season, it'd be worth seeing Laura Coates and Alex Faust behind the stand," tweeted one viewer. Another wrote, "feel like this is the time to let the two people alex trebek specifically said would be good replacements, laura coates and alex faust, give it a whirl. i mean why not?"