Who knew trivia game show drama could get so real? In the latest chapter of the Jeopardy! saga, it turns out that late host Alex Trebek expressed interest in having CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates replace him.
This isn’t news to us at ESSENCE—we reported this in 2018. But video footage went viral this week of Trebek explicitly nominating Coates, the former prosecutor and radio show host, to take over for him in the long-running game show. Coates, along with sports broadcaster Alex Faust, were his top choices.
Today, the recently appointed host Mike Richards announced he is stepping down.
Though Twitter can claim credit for many things, the resurfaced interview footage may not be the primary factor in Richards’s resignation.
Fans were already upset that the show’s executive producer won the spot over popular figures, like the beloved LeVar Burton. But it looks like offensive comments Richards has made in the past prompted his swift exit. The Anti-Defamation League stated that Richards made “disparaging remarks about Jews, women,and Asians,” while host of a podcast.
As USA Today reports, Richards wrote an apology stating it was “humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry.”
Before this news emerged, however, the internet had a field day with the resurfaced Alex Trebek interview.
While Richards fumbled the bag, it leaves the door open for Jeopardy! to reconsider some previous options, and perhaps to honor Trebek’s wishes.