‘Jeopardy!’ Showrunner Mike Richards Explained Why Show Can’t Just Pick a Host with Most Fan Support

by Emily Morgan

As a string of celebrity guest hosts takes their positions behind the “Jeopardy!” podium, fans are buzzing about who they can expect to see as the show’s permanent host.

While it’s been six months since Alex Trebek passed away, Sony Entertainment has yet to name his successor. During an episode of The Wall Street Journal’s podcast, executive producer Mike Richards, revealed insight into the lengthy process the show is using in finding his replacement.

According to Richards, when Season 38 debuts this summer, he fully expects it to do so with Trebek’s replacement. “It’s going to come down to the heads of Sony (Entertainment) to make that decision, ultimately, and it’ll come down to testing. They’ve been a part of it. They know what’s going on in the studio. They’re watching the feed, the tapings. It’s very extensive. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, as far as testing in its size and scope.”

Mike Richards Expects New ‘Jeopardy!’ Host to Be Familiar Face

Although Richards works behind the scenes, he says he’s in the dark when it comes to who’s in the lead for the job. Since Trebek’s passing, viewers have seen all types of personalities behind the podium — from former “Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings to Dr. Mehmet Oz to Aaron Rodgers. Currently, Bill Whitaker, Mayim Bialik, Savannah Guthrie, and LeVar Burton are on the roster next.

Although he was careful not to reveal too much, Richards confessed that he would be surprised if one of the previous or upcoming hosts were not picked.

“It’s definitely going to play into it. And I think there’s different ways fan response can play into it,” Richards explained. “What we are working on, as far as really understanding what the fans are saying and who’s saying it, is very important.”

Fans online have sounded off as to who they hope to see take on the role. As of now, it seems like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the upcoming host, LeVar Burton, are the crowd favorites. Rodgers has previously hinted that he would be willing to retire from the NFL and take on the job.

However, Richards made one thing perfectly clear: the job would not be a side hustle. As for whoever takes on the role, they’ll be expected to give it their all. “I feel like it worked out pretty well for Alex as one job,” Richard said. “It’s not a side hustle to me, and we’ve been clear about that.”