‘Jeopardy!’: Michael Davies, Mike Richards’ Replacement as Executive Producer, Pens Letter To Fans

by Jennifer Shea

Jeopardy! Executive Producer Michael Davies knows how important Jeopardy! fans are to the show’s success, and he wants to hear from you.

In an earnest letter posted to the Jeopardy! website, Davies recounts how he came to be involved with Jeopardy! and how his life has changed since he took over as executive producer. He ends the note by asking fans to submit their feedback on the show in its current form here.

“As with everything else on ‘Jeopardy!,’ we want to get it right,” he writes. “And in time, with your help, I know we will.”

Jeopardy! EP Knew Merv Griffin Well

While Davies signed on as executive producer 99 shows ago, his involvement with late Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin went back three decades. Davies was a wannabe TV writer living in Florida when he got a chance to join Merv Griffin Enterprises as a development associate. Davies jumped at the chance, and the resulting experience changed his life.

“It was a very different Los Angeles back then, a different place, a different era,” Davies recalled. “Very few people had cell phones. No one had email. Legends like Merv literally ran the business. On one of my very first days I had lunch with the boss by the pool at the Beverly Hilton, which he had purchased in 1987, and where our offices were. When the waiter came over and said ‘May I take your order, sir?’ Merv cooed, ‘Ooooohhh’ in his signature baritone, and made a note in a small leather-bound book. Several months later, I saw the phrase reappear as a puzzle on ‘Wheel of Fortune.’”

Davies worked with Griffin on developing new game shows, recruiting the most vivacious contestants from existing game shows to appear on the new ventures. The executive producer had special respect for Jeopardy! contestants, and he claims they inspired him to develop shows like Win Ben Stein’s Money, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Grand Slam. (The latter was a tournament of the top game show players of all time, and Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings won it.)

Davies Is Excited to Go to Work Every Day

For all that experience, Davies says, nothing compares to Jeopardy!. He is thrilled to work with the staff and studio teams, hosts Mayim Bialik and Jennings and the executives at Sony and CBS Media Ventures. He enjoys getting to know the contestants, with their different strengths and idiosyncrasies. And he cannot wait for the next Tournament of Champions.

“We really do have massive plans,” Davies promises Jeopardy! fans.

Meanwhile, Davies also apparently has plans for further initiatives to boost engagement with the fanbase. And getting your feedback is step one. So what are you waiting for, Jeopardy! fans? Let the man know what you think.