Behind-the-scenes drama was not something “Jeopardy!” has been known for – until recently. The search for a permanent replacement for the late Alex Trebek has led to a lot of turmoil for the famous quiz show during 2021.
Let’s take a look back at the events that have brought all the drama to “Jeopardy!” over the past year or so. It has almost been one year since the great Alex Trebek passed away. According to Fox News, the icon died on Nov. 8, 2020. Trebek had fought pancreatic cancer for years before it finally claimed his life. He was 80 years old.
Trebek was still hosting the show at the time of his death. The episodes he was filming at the time aired into early 2021. The very last episode with Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!” aired on Jan. 8, 2021.
Unsurprisingly, Trebek’s passing led to questions as to who would be chosen to be the show’s next host. While that decision was still months away, the show decided that several guest hosts would lead the show in the meantime.
The first of these guest hosts was the famous “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings. His first episode as guest host aired on Jan. 11, 2021.
The next guest host was an individual around whom so much of the turmoil has centered. That person, of course, is Mike Richards. His first episode as guest host aired on Feb. 22, 2021. At the time, Richards was the executive producer of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” That would change several months later.
Following Richards, a list of celebrities stood behind the show’s famous podium as its guest host. These famous individuals included Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, LeVar Burton, and Mayim Bialik.
‘Jeopardy’ Host Announcement Made on Aug. 11
Speaking of Mayim Bialik – it was on Aug. 11, 2021, that the announcement was made that she would be the host of “Jeopardy!” primetime events. At the same time, it was announced that Mike Richards would be the host of the syndicated “Jeopardy!” episodes. Richards as the show’s host was met with frustration by many fans of the show.
Shortly after this announcement was made, controversial statements Mike Richards had made in the past came to light. News also came to light that Richards had been a defendant in discrimination lawsuits while he worked as an executive producer of “The Price Is Right.”
This all led to Richards’ announcement that he would not be the permanent host of “Jeopardy!” on Aug. 20, 2021. Richards had filmed five episodes of the show’s newest season when he made the announcement.
With Richards out, the powers that be behind the quiz show had to find someone to host while the search for Trebek’s replacement began again. On Aug. 23, it was announced that Bialik would step in and host the show in the meantime.
Two days later, it was reported that Richards would stay on as the show’s executive producer. However, on Aug. 31, Richards left that role on both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” The episodes Richards filmed aired from Sept. 13 through Sept. 17. His last episode as executive producer was on Sept. 20.
On Sept. 16, it was announced that Jennings would also serve as host while the search continues.