Summary List Placement
Mike Richards will share “Jeopardy!” hosting duties with actress Mayim Bialik.
Richards will host the daily show, and Bialik will host primetime and spin-off specials such as the teachers’ and college tournaments.
“We knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices,” Sony Pictures chairman Ravi Ahuja said in a statement to Insider’s Kim Renfro. “They were both at the top of our research and analysis.”
Richards joined “Jeopardy!” as an executive producer just last year.
Richards, 46, came on as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” in 2020, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
He’s worked as an executive producer on several other game shows.
Richards spent nearly a decade as the executive producer of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make A Deal” before joining “Jeopardy!” He’s also worked as an executive producer on “Wheel of Fortune” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” among others.
His first job in television was as an intern for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Richards eventually became a production assistant on the show.
“It was such a great first experience,” he told Parade magazine.
He’s won three Daytime Emmy Awards and has been nominated 13 times.
He won outstanding game show twice for “The Price Is Right” in 2016 and 2018, and he picked up his third Daytime Emmy for “Jeopardy!” this year.
Richards said he stepped in to guest-host this past season of “Jeopardy!” at the last minute.
Celebrities such as Aaron Rodgers, LeVar Burton, Anderson Cooper, and Katie Couric took turns guest-hosting the quiz show’s 37th season.
Richards served as the second guest host of the season from February 22 to March 5. He said producers had trouble finding a celebrity host who was willing to shoot during a COVID-19 outbreak in Los Angeles.
“I’m hosting today and for the next two weeks to keep the greatest quiz show in the world going,” Richards said on his first episode as host. “We have some amazing guest hosts coming, that I can’t wait for you to see. But with the COVID outbreak here in LA, folks were understandably a little reticent to shoot.”
He continued: “Ken Jennings did a great job, but he’s unavailable due to obligations with his show, ‘The Chase,’ so as the producer my job is to quite literally live the mantra: The show must go on.”
As Insider previously reported, unnamed sources close to the production were surprised by this characterization, telling The Ringer that a scheduled guest host only had a “minor conflict” that could be worked around. Instead, Richards insisted on taking over hosting duties, they said.
His appointment as “Jeopardy!” host is not without controversy.
After Variety broke the news that he was in “advanced negotiations” to become a permanent host, a report from The Daily Beast detailed how Richards had been accused of harassment and discrimination during his decade-long stint as a producer on “The Price is Right.”
In response to that report, Richards sent an internal memo to the “Jeopardy!” staff.
“These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show,” he wrote in the memo. “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on ‘The Price Is Right.'”
Richards was close with the show’s iconic former host, Alex Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020.
Richards said that in his first meeting with the iconic host, Trebek began to quiz him about geography.
“I looked at him and I said, ‘Is the great Alex Trebek quizzing me?'” Richards said in an interview clip posted to the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel. “And in his very calm way he said, ‘Well, I guess he is.’ So I have a very fond memory of that first meeting.”
Richards also told Parade magazine that Trebek would also often ask how his children were doing, even as his health declined. In one of their last conversations, Trebek asked Richards how school closures due to the pandemic were affecting his children.
“He genuinely cared about my kids but also all children,” Richards said. “Keep in mind he was very close to the end of his life. Amazing.”
He’s been a fan of “Jeopardy!” since he was a child.
In an interview clip posted to the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel, Richards recalled asking his mother for a subscription to The Wall Street Journal when he was 10 or 11 years old and reading Encyclopedia Britannica so that he could get more quiz questions right.
“You don’t get very many right when you watch ‘Jeopardy!’ at that age,” he said.
He now has two children of his own — with his wife, Stephanie — who are fans of the show.