‘Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards Reportedly in Negotiations To Become Permanent Host

by John Jamison

Well, if the reports are accurate, it seems we may finally have an answer to the highly anticipated question of Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement on “Jeopardy!” It’s none other than the show’s executive producer Mike Richards, from the top rope.

Now, it’s important to note that the reports are claiming Richards is currently in “advanced negotiations” and is the front-runner at the moment. But there is nothing final about Richards as the replacement yet, and there are still other contenders in the mix.

According to Variety, a source with Sony Pictures Entertainment said that other candidates are still viable, but Richards appears to have an edge.

The news definitely comes as a bit of a surprise. Not because Mike Richards was unpopular during his run as the game show’s guest host, but because he himself was so close to the people responsible for choosing a replacement. Of course, nothing was preventing him from taking the job. But many likely weren’t aware that he was a serious contender for the role in the first place.

Though, it makes sense. He proved to be one of the most popular “Jeopardy!” guest hosts over the past season. Not only that, but Mike Richards is also an experienced TV host in his own right. His career accolades include stints as the host on game shows “The Pyramid,” “Divided,” and reality TV like “Beauty and the Geek” and “High School Reunion.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Wanted Ken Jennings as Permanent Replacement for Alex Trebek

Ever since his six weeks as the first “Jeopardy!” host since Alex Trebek’s passing, Ken Jennings has been a favorite for the role. None are more qualified in terms of “Jeopardy!” status, though Richards certainly has the edge in hosting experience.

But whether or not it had to do with the fact that he had more time to work with at the lectern, Jennings remained the top-rated guest host throughout the entire 37th season of the iconic game show. All the while, however, Richards held his spot among the top few candidates. And regardless of how fans take the news, the Mike Richards writing was on the wall.

“I would definitely consider it if Sony made that decision and wanted me to do it. It would be amazing. But my job (as executive producer) is to make sure that every guest that walks in that door does the greatest job they can,” Richards told USA Today in May.

Beyond his willingness, Richards has an intimate understanding of “Jeopardy!” as its executive producer and has overseen 4,000 hours of game shows throughout his career.

It will be interesting to see how “Jeopardy!” fans react to the news in the coming days. And it will be even more compelling to follow how the negotiations play out with Sony.