In a 2018 episode of “OBJECTified” hosted by Harvey Levin, Trebek entertained the possibility of stepping away from “Jeopardy!” in the next few years, going so far as to say it was likely that he would consider leaving after his contract expired in 2020.
Levin also pressed Trebek to name a “good, solid host” in his absence, prompting Trebek to name not one, but two.
“[I] mentioned to our producer, not so long ago, that the fellow that does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings. They should consider him,” Trebek said, speaking of NHL sportscaster Alex Faust. “He’s young, he’s attractive, his first name is Alex. It wouldn’t be a big hardship to Johnny Gilbert to say, ‘And now, here’s the host of “Jeopardy!” Alex not-Trebek!’”
Trebek also offered his pick for a female host: legal analyst Laura Coates.
“There is an attorney, Laura Coates,” Trebek said. “She’s African American. And she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time. Very bright, very personable.”
Both Faust and Coates acknowledged Trebek’s comments shortly after the episode aired, with Faust remarking that he was flattered, and Coates writing that she was honored and humbled. Coates further stated that “Jeopardy!” has long been her favorite game show.
Neither of Trebek’s choices, however, were among the guest hosts selected to fill-in for Trebek when the show resumed production following his passing in 2020.
Instead, the producers announced a series of guest hosts before naming Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, as the next permanent host. Richards, however, decided nine days later to stay behind the camera following controversy over sexist comments he made on a podcast, Sony Pictures Television announced in a statement shared on behalf of Richards.
“SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host,” wrote Richards, who will be staying on as an executive producer.
He also confirmed that the new season of “Jeopardy!” will continue with a guest-hosting format until the permanent host is officially chosen.
Ironically enough, Trebek himself came to reconsider his inclination to step away from “Jeopardy!” at the end of his contract in 2020. In Oct. 2018, Deadline reported that Trebek had renewed his contract with Sony Pictures Entertainment through 2022, despite his earlier remarks on “OBJECTified.”
“[By] 2020, that’s gonna be 36, 37 years of hosting one show,” he said. “That’s enough. I’ll be 80 years old.”