Reports say Mike Richards is in talks to become the permanent host of Jeopardy! a year after he joined as an executive producer
Ever since Alex Trebek tragically died last year at age 80, the search has been on for who will take the reins and be the new face of his long-running quiz show, Jeopardy! Whoever lands the gig will have incredibly big shoes to fill, which is probably one reason why the show’s producers have been testing a revolving set of celebrity hosts, including some major fan favorites: Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, and LeVar Burton, just to name a few.
“We look forward to each guest host bringing their unique abilities to the show and to our contestants winning a lot of money that we can match for charity,” executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement when the list of guest hosts was announced last year.
And now for the twist no one saw coming: Variety reports that it’s Richards, the executive producer, who is in advanced talks to become the permanent host of Jeopardy!
Richards joined Jeopardy! as an executive producer last year, and did a stint as a guest host that reportedly impressed the rest of the show’s producers. It’s not entirely out of left field — Richards has hosted a number of other shows before, including Game Show Network’s Divided and The Pyramid, as well as reality shows High School Reunion and Beauty and the Geek. He also executive produced The Price Is Right and CBS’s revival of Let’s Make a Deal. In all, Variety reports, Richards has produced more than 4,000 hours of game shows, in addition to hosting a few of them. He’s nowhere near the household name that Alex Trebek was (or many of the other guest hosts), but he might actually be a good fit for the role.
Sony Pictures Television, which owns the rights to Jeopardy!, wouldn’t comment on whether Richards is being seriously considered, and only said that discussions are ongoing with several potential hosts. A source inside the organization said that Richards is the frontrunner for now, but nothing is guaranteed at this point, and there are definitely still other names in the mix. Is one of them LeVar Burton? We really hope one of them is LeVar Burton.
Whoever ends up stepping into Alex Trebek’s spot behind the podium on Jeopardy! will have a lot of work to do to be as gracious and commanding as the host of nearly four decades was. We only hope Sony chooses someone who’s up for the job.