After more than eight months with various celebrity guest hosts, Jeopardy! found its new host following the death of Alex Trebek, naming executive producer Mike Richards as the replacement on August 11.
In August 2021, the famed game show — which premiered in 1984 — announced that Richards and Big Bang Theory alum Mayim Bialik would split the hosting duties. Richards is also an executive producer on the show.
“We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of America’s Favorite Quiz Show with Mike hosting our daily show and Mayim hosting new versions of Jeopardy!,” Ravi Ahuja, Sony Pictures chairman, said in a statement. “We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show — deservedly so because it’s Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek. A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers.”
While Richards was set to host the syndicated game show, Bialik will be responsible for the primetime specials and spinoff shows, including the upcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship.
However, nine days after the announcement, he revealed he was stepping down following multiple resurfaced controversial comments.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” he told staff in a memo on August 20. “As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
Sony Pictures TV also spoke out following the incident.
“We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward,” Sony Pictures TV said in a statement to Us at the time. “Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
“Working beside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continued to host Jeopardy! was an incredible honor,” the longtime producer shared at the time. “His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to perform at the highest level was the most inspiring demonstration of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever.”
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