Laura Coates has felt like passing out many times in the past few days. When Alex Trebek’s name popped up in her email inbox. Fantasizing about seeing the “Jeopardy!” set for the first time. And of course, the fateful moment Sunday night when her name rolled off Trebek’s tongue on air.
It was a typical evening for Coates. She was getting her two kids ready for bed, folding laundry and watching TV — specifically, an interview with Trebek on Fox News Channel’s “OBJECTified.” Trebek was asked who he thought should take over his duties should he choose to retire in 2020 (of which, he said, there is a “50/50 chance”). The 78-year-old host first mentioned L.A. Kings announcer Alex Faust, and then Coates, a legal analyst and George Washington University lecturer based in the District.
“When I heard him say my name, I was floored. My kids started cheering,” Coates said. Her son asked, “Did he hear you screaming at the TV all this time?”
A lifelong fan of “Jeopardy!,” Coates called the experience “surreal and magical,” but is a bit perplexed about how she came to be mentioned.
Trebek and Coates have never met, so she assumes he has listened to her eponymous SiriusXM show or watched her stints as a commentator on CNN.
“I can’t imagine that all the time I’ve been watching him, he’s been watching me,” she said, star-struck.
The gig wouldn’t be too much of a leap for Coates, who traded in her legal career in private practice and as a federal prosecutor to pursue one in media after the birth of her daughter.
“Essentially my SiriusXM show is all the categories of ‘Jeopardy!’ wrapped into one,” she explained.
Although the reaction from friends, family and social media about Coates potentially taking over hosting duties of the legendary game show has been a bit overwhelming, she is more than willing to accept the offer should it ever come.
“How quickly could I get on a plane would be the only question,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How could you not do it?”