Report: “Jeopardy!” Close to Naming New Permanent Host
Nine months after Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died, the company that produces the long-running game show is apparently close to appointing a new quizmaster.
According to a report by Variety, Sony is in "advanced negotiations" with Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards to name him Trebek's successor.
Richards was the second guest host to take the reins of the quiz program following Trebek's death in November. For two weeks, he held the dual roles of host and executive producer, much like Trebek did from 1984 to 1987 when he both hosted and produced the show.
Apparently Richards did well enough during his guest host stint that Sony executives offered him the job. Per Variety's report:
Richards, who joined the show just last year as executive producer, impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner.
Richards is no stranger to television or to game shows. After graduating from Pepperdine University, Richards interned for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He later worked for Dick Clark as a producer and, eventually, as his vice president of development and current programs. In the latter role, Richards oversaw shows like New Year's Rockin' Eve and the American Music Awards. More recently, Richards served as the executive producer of The Price Is Right, Let's Make a Deal, and the celebrity versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Currently, he's the executive producer of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
In addition to his behind-the-scenes work, Richards has hosted his share of programs. He was the second host of Beauty and the Geek. He later hosted Game Show Network's version of Pyramid and their original show Divided. Richards was also a candidate to replace Bob Barker as host of The Price Is Right when the latter retired in 2007.
Richards says Clark was instrumental in his move back in front of the camera after producing programs.
“I was fortunate to work alongside Dick Clark for many years," Richards said in a 2012 press release announcing the launch of Pyramid. "Not only was he one of the most respected game show hosts of all time, but he served as my mentor and it’s an honor to follow in his footsteps.
Richards was one of several guests hosts to fill in this year after Trebek's death from pancreatic cancer. Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, actors LaVar Burton and Mayam Bialik, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers were among the guest hosts during the interregnum and were all considered by fans to be possible successors to Trebek.
Taping for Season 38 of Jeopardy! is scheduled to begin later this month.
If you're still wondering, "Who is Mike Richards?" here are some videos that may answer your questions.