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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in almost 40 years, “Jeopardy!” might be getting a new host. Alex Trebek, who has hosted the iconic game show since 1984, has hinted that he may not be renewing his contract when it expires in 2020. According to Trebek, his chances of continuing with “Jeopardy!” were “50/50, and a little less.” The loss of the 78 year old host would fundamentally alter the trivia show and set off a massive hunt for a replacement that could mimic the steady delivery Trebek uses to keep the lightning-fast trivia show humming along.

Trebek’s retirement has been predicted repeatedly in the past only for him to renew his contract when it was ready to expire. Each time, fans of “Jeopardy!” have attempted to predict who would succeed the long-time host. Now, however, Trebek has made his own suggestions on who he thinks should be his successor, and the names are not ones any fan would have predicted.

Trebek named two potential replacements, and the two people he tapped were as surprised as “Jeopardy!” fans that they were on Trebek’s shortlist. The first person Trebek named was Alex Faust who is currently the play-by-play announcer for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Trebek’s second pick was CNN’s legal analyst and on-air personality, Laura Coates. Both Faust and Coates took to Twitter to express their shock and gratitude that Trebek would consider them for the position. Faust tweeted that he was “flattered by Mr. Trebek’s kind words,” and Coates said that she was “incredibly honored and humbled” that Trebek thought she would be a good host. She also stated that her children “saw him say this and now think I’m a genius.”

Both Faust and Coates were highly unexpected and a departure from the sort of successors fans have long been predicting. The most commonly expected replacements named by fans were sportscast and radio host Dan Patrick, former “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen and CNN host Anderson Cooper.

As Trebek’s contract does not end for another two years, there is plenty of time for fans to speculate about who will be his successor. That is, of course, assuming that Trebek decides to retire at all. He might well decide to continue hosting “Jeopardy!” for a bit longer. It would not be the first time.

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