‘Jeopardy!’: New Executive Producer Addresses the ‘Awkward Months’ After Mike Richards’ Departure

by Taylor Cunningham

The new Jeopardy! executive producer has held his position for less than a year, but he’s already had to extinguish the flames of a major “scandal,” and he finally addressed the situation this week.

Over the past couple of years, the long-running game show has had more than its share of heartbreak and drama. On November 8th, 2020, Jeopardy! lost its host, Alex Trebek, to cancer. Then, it began searching for someone worthy of following in his footsteps.

The first person to stand behind the podium was LeVar Burton. He guest helmed the show for five episodes before being ousted for former executive producer, Mike Richards. Then Richards appeared in exactly one episode before controversy killed his career.

Just as Richards began filming for his new job, recordings from The Randumb Show podcast that he hosted in 2013 and 2014 resurfaced. The former host made inappropriate comments about both women and Jewish people.

Richards quickly apologized for the “terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity.” But the series promptly fired him and filled his spot with temporary hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings.

Michael Davies Stepped in as the New Executive Producer

Since Mike Richards left the show, Michael Davies has stepped in as the new EP. During a backstage interview with Variety at the Emmys, he had a few comments on the chaos that ensued in the wake of Richard’s exit. But his words weren’t all negative.

Davies realized that the controversy could have brought down the entire show. But instead, it highlighted just how strong Jeopardy! truly is.

“The scandal was, as we call it at Jeopardy!, ‘the awkward months,’” he said. “But it showed the power of our audience and how passionately our fans care about the program, which is just so important. What’s happened over the course of the season — Matt Amodio, and Amy Schneider, and Mattea [Roach], and Ryan [Long] — really made us just remember how incredible the game is. The stars of our show and Mayim [Bialik] and Ken [Jennings] have done incredible job hosting.”

Mayim Bialik Had an Easy Transition Into Her Spot on ‘Jeopardy!’

Luckily, the remaining production team was able to make a smooth transition between the scorned ex-host and his two replacements. Bialik and Jennings were able to step in without a hitch and the show continued to air as usual.

And while Bialik began her new gig, she didn’t have to deal with any unpleasantries, which is probably why she’s still with the show today.

“There have been many conversations and weeks and weeks of us all getting adjusted to what’s been going on. There hasn’t really been anything that’s been a surprise,” she told Fox News in September. “So there wasn’t really awkwardness.”

“I’m just excited to be able to do my job and do it to the best of my ability. As someone who likely would get everything wrong on Jeopardy! It’s a real honor to get to stand up there,” she added.