CNN correspondent Laura Coates is talking about being snubbed from the Jeopardy hosting position, even though the late Alex Trebek requested her by name to be his successor.
Coates was a guest on Tamron Hall’s self-titled show. She talked not only about her new book, Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight for Fairness, but also about being overlooked for the position–a position which had since become mired in controversy.
“I actually was as shocked as anyone else was when he first said it,” she said of Trebek’s endorsement. “I never met him. I’m a lifelong fan of Jeopardy!. I mean I sometimes watch it twice in a night and play it back for my kids so I have all the actual answers so I look even smarter to my children. And I was thrilled when he said my name, and I thought, ‘My God. This person that I have 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?’ And I was honored by it and I had a chance to thank him and also to reach out to him while he struggled with pancreatic cancer.”
“And I asked for the opportunity when it came time, when they were looking for people to possibly fill in. I certainly raised my hand and knocked on doors and found them closed," she continued.
“And 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 surprise you – other people – don’t align with what happens and that happened there. 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?”
Watch the full interview below.
Coates wasn't the only Black prospective host who was snubbed.
Reading Rainbow host and actor LeVar Burton was one of the guest hosts of the series, and even though there was a huge social media campaign to make him the host, he was overlooked for Jeopardy‘s executive producer, Mike Richards, leading many to believe that Jeopardy had Richards in mind all along.
Once Richards became the host, he quickly stepped down after several women revealed their prior sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits against him and others in power alongside him, as well as the production company behind Richards, Fremantle Media North America. Fremantle had been in hot water before with Gabrielle Union’s suit alleging racist practices on America’s Got Talent.