Many Jeopardy! fans took to social media to voice their displeasure about Mike Richards taking the hosting job. There are, after all, several reasons for people to dislike the former executive producer and host. For instance, there are some lawsuits from his time on The Price is Right that doesn’t paint him in the best light. Then, the offensive remarks he made on his podcast came to light. Additionally, many people felt like he rigged the host selection process. Above everything else, he brought a firestorm of controversy to America’s favorite quiz show. In short, people hated the idea of Mike Richards hosting the show.
However, The Hollywood Reporter states the opening week of Jeopardy!’s current season had solid ratings. In fact, they were up from the same time last year. That was the only week that featured Mike Richards as host. So, it seems that fans didn’t hate the fact that he was hosting bad enough to not watch the show.
In 2020, Jeopardy! averaged 8.15 million viewers for the week of September 13. The show also pulled in a household rating of 5.0. However, this year, the show landed a whopping 8.38 million viewers. Additionally, it garnered a slightly higher household rating at 5.1.
However, we can’t chalk this up to Mike Richards winning over a silent majority of Jeopardy! fans. In fact, there are several things that could have led to the higher ratings this year.
Potential Causes of Higher Ratings for ‘Jeopardy!’
First and foremost, we have to consider the fact that a large number of Jeopardy! fans didn’t care about Mike Richards one way or another. For them, it was all about the show itself. Which, honestly, is how it should be. So, many people tuned in to see the contestants try their hand at tackling the trivia.
Additionally, Matt Amodio could have been a large draw. He is one of the most exciting contestants Jeopardy! fans have seen in a long time. Right now, he’s only days away from breaking James Holzhauer’s winning streak record. Back when Richards was hosting the show, Amodio was the returning champion and several people wanted to see if his success would carry over into the new season.
We could also look at what was going on last fall. The Covid-19 pandemic was huge not just in our lives but also in the news. As a result, many people were watching wall-to-wall coverage of the virus. Additionally, we were heading into a heated presidential election. The election shared the 24-hour news cycle with the virus and could have pulled many eyes away from Jeopardy!.
Finally, Mike Richards may have done some damage to Jeopardy!’s squeaky-clean image with his controversies. However, it’s hard to look away from a train wreck. So, many people may have tuned in just to see what the fuss was about.