‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Reveals Notable Change Made After Mike Richards’ Firing

by Chris Haney

Earlier this week, a Jeopardy! contestant on the newest season revealed a notable change to the game show following his taped appearance.

Polygon deputy managing editor and new contestant Samit Sarkar opened up about his experience recently. In a series of Twitter posts, he shared that he was one of 11 new contestants to start Season 38, which will air beginning September 13. In fact, he’s one of the few contestants who appeared during host Mike Richards’ short full-time stint on Jeopardy!.

Richards stepped down as Alex Trebek’s replacement the day after Sarkar filmed his episode. Yet there is one Jeopardy! tradition that changed recently because of Richards’ unceremonious exit. The contestant shared a series of tweets announcing his involvement in the game show where he revealed the slight change.

“Hey folks! You may have noticed me tweeting a lot about [Jeopardy]! in recent weeks. Well, that’s only going to continue – it’s not just because I’ve watched and loved the show forever, and I care deeply about what happens to it… it’s also because I’M GOING TO BE ON IT!!!” Sarkar tweeted before adding further thoughts.

Sarkar said he’s “proud” to announce that he’d be on the Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 episode. In further tweets, he spoke about the show’s change, which impacted contestants’ mementos from their appearance. He referenced that Jeopardy! contestants typically get two photos to take home. They include one of themselves on the famous game show’s set, and another alongside the host.

However, Sarkar stated that he only received the photo of himself, and not the second picture with Mike Richards.

Mike Richards Steps Down as EP for ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Last month, Mike Richards’ quick rise and fall as Jeopardy!‘s permanent host made headlines across the nation. The Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! executive producer became a frontrunner for the position and Sony Pictures executives eventually named him as host. But within weeks of Sony offering him the gig, Richards is out of a job entirely.

Sony execs informed the game show’s crew and staff that the host would step down from his role as executive producer. Richards had already stepped down as host, and returned to his executive producer role. Yet reports revealed that he would not rejoin Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune in any capacity. Sony EVP Suzanne Prete sent out an email amid the backlash of his past podcast comments. She said his history of derogatory comments made it impossible for Richards to continue in any role with the company.

“We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened,” Prete said, according to Deadline.

Numerous reports speculated about Richards’ future as an executive producer with the two game shows. In fact, multiple reports alleged that Sony wanted to move on from Richards entirely. The producer turned host turned producer reportedly hired a lawyer to protect him from getting fired. But he seemed to step down himself, possibly realizing the writing on the wall that his time was up on the game shows. Sony hired British producer Michael Davies to fill in for Richards as executive producer of Jeopardy! as the show continues its search for their new permanent host.