Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is making it sound like Sony’s choice for a permanent host is much closer than fans might think.
Speaking to USA TODAY on the search for a new podium master, Jeopardy’s EP Mike Richards says “the process is going really well” in his latest update. Fans of the classic game show are eager to know who’s taking up Alex Trebek’s role as host, to say the least.
And according to Richards, the show has “gotten better” at producing sporadic shows with multiple guest hosts which, as a result, has them better prepared to select a permanent replacement.
This, however, does not mean that replacing Alex Trebek isn’t still as daunting as ever.
“We had one guy that was beyond perfect at his job and did it for 37 years, so for us to shift from that to someone new every week or sometimes two new people in one week (of taping) was a challenge for us,” Richards emphasizes in this week’s sit-down.
Regardless, Sony and their Jeopardy! producers (Richards included) will have their answer soon. As of this article, taping for their rollercoaster 37th season has wrapped. That means every announced guest host has had their chance to film their episodes – and what we see is what we get.
Richards has admitted, too, that each guest host’s stint is indeed a cleverly-disguised audition for the role. And some, like fan-favorite Levar Burton – the only celeb to actively campaign for a shot at the permanent gig – want it more than others.
‘Jeopardy!’s Mike Richards Sounds Like a Man Who Knows His Future Host
Having guest hosted himself, and spent many intimate hours with each fellow after, Jeopardy’s EP says he’s also gained “such perspective at the challenges that are unique to” Jeopardy!.
“We’ve reworked much of how the host operates that show in a very short amount of time, and so if anything I’m able to give (hosts) Cliffs Notes at this point and get the best out of people in the short time that they have,” Richards adds for USA TODAY.
Yet through all his earnest talk of fellow guest hosts and learning curves, Mike Richards is far from counting himself out of the race. In fact, the EP sounds as if he’s simply waiting on the phone call.
“I mean, it’s the greatest job in television, although I may be biased,” he lauds.
And would he consider hosting Jeopardy! if Sony wanted him to? Of course he would!
“I would definitely consider it if Sony made that decision and wanted me to do it. It would be amazing,” he tells the trade. “But my job (as executive producer) is to make sure that every guest that walks in that door does the greatest job they can. I give every ounce of my ability as a producer to give them every trick, every cheat, anything I can do to have them way overdeliver and actually turn in what I consider a “Jeopardy!”-level performance, and that’s my focus,” he says.
Sounds as if your focus might be switching a bit, Mr. Richards! Which is fine by Outsider, given the EP sincerely did a fantastic job hosting the show. Now give us those Levar Burton episodes so we can begin weighing our favorites against Ken Jennings…