‘Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards Reportedly Didn’t Make Alex Trebek’s List of Preferred Successors

by Jennifer Shea

Late, great “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek apparently had a list of preferred successors. And Mike Richards wasn’t on it. Richards quit the show early Friday (August 20) in the wake of several controversies.

In a 2018 interview that is reportedly now going viral, Trebek dropped some names of people he would like to see replace him on “Jeopardy!”.

Trebek named LA Kings hockey announcer Alex Faust and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates as potential successors. Neither got a shot at an audition during the extended guest-hosting period earlier this year, which saw a parade of celebrities take the reins in Trebek’s place.

Richards has been mired in controversy since Sony’s pick – not exactly welcomed by “Jeopardy!” fans – was announced. First news broke that he had been named in two discrimination lawsuits. Then The Ringer published a story detailing a long list of offensive remarks Richards made on his short-lived podcast. The Anti-Defamation League has since called for an investigation shortly before he stepped down.

Alex Faust Gives Back by Volunteering

The Brooklyn native was hired to announce Kings games in the 2017-18 season. He was just 28 at the time. His youth may have made him an attractive pick for Trebek, who likely wanted to see “Jeopardy!” continue the long-running stability it enjoyed during his tenure.

Prior to calling Kings games, Faust called hockey games on NBCSN, NESN and Westwood One Radio. He was also a radio broadcaster for the American Hockey League’s Utica Comets, and was the “Inside the Glass” reporter for the 2015 AHL All-Star Game, per NHL.com.

More recently, Faust has expanded his announcing duties to tennis and college football in addition to hockey. And he told L.A. Kings Insider last year that he’s gotten involved in Kings community service efforts, from donating blood to volunteering.

“In LA, there are so many ways to get involved in your community and one of the best ways to get to know the city better is to volunteer,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed contributing to different projects, I’ve ridden in the Pan-Mass Challenge before when I lived in Boston. I’ve always enjoyed getting to know a place better by volunteering.”

Laura Coates Thanked ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Personally

Coates is a senior legal analyst for CNN and an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School. She also hosts her own SiriusXM talk show.

The legal analyst told CNN that after Trebek named her as a potential successor in 2018, she reached out and thanked him personally. She also mentioned that she watched the show regularly, guessing the responses to clues from home.

“Well, I was able to reach out and thank him,” she said. “Because I am just an audience fan of ‘Jeopardy.’ Had no idea, had never met him before. I just wanted to thank him, and he was so gracious and humble about it. And I was like, ‘Oh my god, did I just call you Alex? Oh my goodness…’ In my mind I think ‘Jeopardy!’ is either Alex Trebek with a mustache or Alex Trebek without a mustache.”

No doubt many “Jeopardy!” fans are wishing Trebek were here to weigh in on the succession himself. Barring that, they’ll just have to settle for sounding off on social media.