The search for the next host of “Jeopardy!” is over.
On Wednesday, Mike Richards was named to replace the late Alex Trebek as host of the popular TV game show.
In addition, actress Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) will host primetime and spinoff specials of the show, including the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” tournament, set to air next year on ABC.
Richards, 46, currently serves as “Jeopardy!” executive producer. He was among a series of 16 guest hosts, including Bialik, LeVar Burton, Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, who “auditioned” for hosting duties over the past seven months.
“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,” said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, the production company behind “Jeopardy!” “They were both at the top of our research and analysis. Mike is a unique talent, at ease behind the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the ‘Jeopardy!’ brand. We are excited to get to work with them both and are confident that they will carry on the legacy of this iconic show.”
Richards has a long game show resume. He was the executive producer of “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” for more than a decade and produced the 2020 revival of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” His on-camera experience includes hosting “The Pyramid” and “Beauty and the Geek,” a reality show.
He joined “Jeopardy!” starting with the 2020-21 season, and was in the job for only a few months when Trebek, 80, died last November of pancreatic cancer.
Most recently, Richards has been facing social media backlash since news resurfaced about 2010 discrimination lawsuits against “The Price Is Right,” where he was working as co-executive producer. He was accused of making insensitive comments about pregnant women.
According to hollywoodreporter.com, he issued a memo to the “Jeopardy!” staff earlier this week, addressing the lawsuit. It read in part: “These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. 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.’ I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”
Contributing: Associated Press