‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host Dr. Sanjay Gupta Revealed Producer Mike Richards’ ‘Powerful’ Motivational Words

by Keeli Parkey

Hosting “Jeopardy!” is easier said than done. It comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility to do justice to the popular show and the legacy late host Alex Trebek left behind.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for CNN, felt this pressure when he began his brief tenure as a guest host on “Jeopardy!” Luckily for him, a man who knows the quiz show very well offered some very timely advice.

That man was Mike Richards – a longtime executive producer of the series. Gupta shared what Richards had to say to him in a recent essay he wrote for his home network.

Just how difficult hosting “Jeopardy!” can be became clear to Gupta during his first day on set.

“The first day I showed up on set, it was to meet everyone and start rehearsals,” Gupta wrote. “While the team was entirely too kind to admit this, I think they would all agree I was pretty terrible.”

Gupta said he struggled with many things on that stressful day.

“My pacing was off. My language skills suddenly declined,” the famous doctor shared. “I forgot to walk to certain parts of the set at the right time, and I repeated the cardinal sin of calling a response an answer.”

At this moment while he was feeling very stressed that Richards approached Gupta and shared some words of wisdom. What he had to say changed the way Gupta viewed the show and helped him relax in his role as the guest host of “Jeopardy!”

What Mike Richards Told Dr. Sanjay Gupta Changed The Guest Host’s Perspective About Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’

So, what did Mike Richards say to Dr. Sanjay Gupta that helped him during his time as a guest host of “Jeopardy!”?

Turns out, he talked about the importance of the show to its contestants.

“As I was trying to find my rhythm, I remember Mike Richards, the executive producer, walking over to me and talking me through it,” Gupta recalled. “It was like a masterful coach coming to talk to his errant pitcher at the mound. I thought he might bench me, but instead he told me something I never forgot: ‘For the contestants who come to play, this is one of the biggest days in their lives, and when you look at someone at the end of the show and tell them they are a ‘Jeopardy!’ champion, it is like placing a gold medal around their neck.'”

The words of wisdom from Richards really resonated with Gupta.

“It was powerful. The way Mike framed it changed everything for me,” Gupta shared. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t let the amazing contestants down on one of the biggest days of their lives.”

Richards’ words also inspired Gupta to “practice” for his hosting gig away from the set.

“That night, I practiced the moves,” he shared. “I ran through the paces in my hotel room over and over and over again. The bathroom became backstage and the bed was my lectern. The TV was the gameboard and the window was the audience. Once I finally nailed the mechanics, I studied the clues. I got the intonation and the stride right. Speedy, but not rushed. After all that, I finally allowed myself to really feel the incredible emotion of ‘Jeopardy!’