‘Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards Apologizes to Show’s Staff in Virtual Meeting Attended by Top Sony Executive

by Matthew Memrick

In a virtual meeting, former “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards apologized to show staffers and a top Sony executive after a tumultuous two weeks.

Deadline reported that top Sony TV executive and Sony Global Television Studios chairman Ravi Ahuja attended the meeting.

The publication learned that “Jeopardy!” staff and crew met on Monday with executive producer Richards talking to an audience. Another show, “Wheel of Fortune,” had a similar discussion.

Richards apologized for insensitive and sexist comments on the 2013 “Randumb” podcast following a Ringer report. Richards’s executive producer job status is secure, according to studio executives.

Mayim Bialik will take over syndicated show duties for three weeks (15 episodes) as the show restores its search for a permanent host. The show will resume this week after production stopped this past Friday.

A studio source told Yahoo! Entertainment that, for Bialik, “there’s definitely more than guest hosting that could potentially happen here.”

Most importantly, Richards won’t have a hand in the next permanent host. CNN reported that Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Tony Vinciquerra and Ahuja will make the final decision.

“They very much don’t want to go through another extended audition process,” CNN reported.

Ringer Story Talks About State of ‘Jeopardy!’

Behind last week’s exposé on Richards, the Ringer reporter said the biggest question was where “Jeopardy!” went from here.

Claire McNear, who also wrote a recent book about the “Jeopardy!” franchise, said on CNN’s “New Day” Monday that Sony executives are concerned about the show’s stability after its decades on air.

“I think there’s a lot of concern,” McNear said. “Especially within Sony and within the “Jeopardy!” staff, that this reliable thing might not be what it was and it could just become another game show.”

Insider came up with a list of 10 possible permanent hosts. Some were already in the hosting discussion: Ken Jennings, Bialik, LeVar Burton, Robin Roberts, and NFL player Aaron Rodgers.

But it also came up with some other names, including CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, Los Angeles Kings announcer Alex Faust, TV show host Stephen Colbert, TV show host Julie Chen, and actress Natalie Portman.

Former ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Takes On Show’s Drama

In an NBC opinion story, former contestant Catherine Ramen recently said ‘Jeopardy!’ will have “a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with its fans” amid the new search for a permanent host.

The writer played on “Jeopardy!” nine times, including two tournaments, between 1997 and 2005.

She liked the competitive hosting contest involved in finding the permanent host. However, she didn’t like how it ended. She said, “the appearance of a sham audition and (Richards) self-coronation (flew) in the face of one of the show’s most foundational features: meritocracy.” 

Ramen said former guest host and fan-favorite LeVar Burton deserves another shot despite this rough turn. She reasoned that Ken Jennings would be the top candidate to host the show but personally said his role “at the lectern would intimidate the hell out of her.”