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Fired ‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Mike Richards Says Aaron Rodgers Was ‘Most Prepared’ Guest Host

Fired Jeopardy EP Mike Richards Aaron Rodgers Was Most Prepared Guest Host
Mike Richards, Aaron Rodgers. Getty Images (2)

Former Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards says Aaron Rodgers was the most prepared guest host that the show tried out as it looked to replace Alex Trebek.

Richards, 48, told People that the show meant to audition guest hosts only until Trebek could return from his battle with pancreatic cancer.

“We had talked about people coming in and guest hosting if Alex got too sick,” Richards explained in an interview published on Wednesday, March 20. “But we always knew Alex would come back until the day he decided he couldn’t.”

While the show cycled through guest hosts including Katie Couric, Joe Buck, Anderson Cooper, Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings, Rodgers stood out in a way Richards didn’t expect.

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“Aaron Rodgers was definitely the most prepared,” he said of the Jets quarterback, 40. “I was blown away by that, the intensity in which he prepped, and he was so lovely to everyone on staff. But ultimately I worried about his other job that he does on a pretty high level. I was like, ‘How are you going to work this out with football scheduling?’ He said, ‘You’ll figure it out!'”

Rodgers’ own account of his guest stint in 2021 makes it clear why Richards was so impressed.

“I watched hours and hours and hours of episodes,” Rodgers told ESPN in April 2021. “Luckily Netflix has a few seasons, and I went back to DVR. But I had to watch from a different perspective — from Alex’s perspective. I couldn’t watch it as a fan anymore.”

“I took pages and pages and pages of notes,” he continued. “I wrote down every affirmative that he said to any type of clue. I wrote down how he would respond if they didn’t get it right. I wrote down beat points of the show. I wrote down all the different ways he would take it to break. I wrote down the stuff that he said coming out of break. Literally, I studied for this like no other. I wanted to absolutely just crush it.”

Fired Jeopardy EP Mike Richards Aaron Rodgers Was Most Prepared Guest Host
Aaron Rodgers. Jeopardy!/YouTube

Richards was complimentary of the other guest hosts as well, saying Buck “took to it the quickest” and Robin Roberts was one of the nicest people he’d ever met. He even wondered whether not choosing Couric was a “missed opportunity to reboot the show.”

The former EP was, himself, a guest host and was eventually selected as the full-time replacement for Trebek, who died in November 2020. His tenure was short-lived, however, as Richards immediately faced a flurry of controversy.

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“Everyone was so angry because it looked like I had gone into a room and picked myself,” he recalled. “And that’s not what happens in television, but I understood that that’s what the outward appearances were.”

Just nine days after the announcement, Richards stepped down as host after a past lawsuit during his time with The Price is Right and previous derogatory comments he had made on his podcast resurfaced. He only served as host for one day.

Three years later, Jennings is now the permanent host of Jeopardy!, which is currently airing its 40th season.

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