‘Jeopardy!’: When Did Alex Trebek’s Reported Replacement Mike Richards Join Show?

by Madison Miller

“Jeopardy!” has supposedly found the new face of the popular trivia show on a full-time, long-term basis. After cycling through guest hosts, executives have set their sights extremely close to home.

Executive Producer Mike Richards is supposedly in the final steps of negotiations over succeeding Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!” Variety first broke the story and Sony Entertainment is expected to deliver the news in the next few days if everything goes as planned.

There are still discussions with other potential candidates, but Richards has pulled ahead. Now, both sides just need to reach an agreement.

In the process, the “Jeopardy!” team has turned down other popular guest hosts like Mayim Bialik, LeVar Burton, Aaron Rodgers, Buzzy Cohen, and Ken Jennings.

At the end of the day, Richards has a history with the show that like made him come out as a front-runner for the host position. He was there alongside Alex Trebek and always on the “Jeopardy!” set. This means that out of all the other guest hosts, Richards would have the most seamless transition into the full-time gig.

Mike Richards ‘Jeopardy!’ and History

So, how long has Mike Richards been with the show?

Richards is the executive producer of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He’s been with the show since the middle of the shutdown. In an interview with Parade, Richards explained what it was like to set foot on the “Jeopardy!” stage for the first time after being a fan since he was 10.

“My first day as executive producer was in the middle of the shutdown due to the pandemic, so everything was already upside down and this incredible staff never missed a beat. They were doing everything they could do to get back into production. Even Alex was calling me saying that he wanted to be the first show back in the studio and, as it turns out, we were close to that,” Richards said.

More TV Experience

This isn’t his first rodeo when it comes to TV, however. He has produced over 4,000 hours of game show TV. He is also a three-time Daytime Emmy Award winner and a 17-time nominee. Beyond experience, Richards was quite popular behind the podium. He was smooth, effortless, and charismatic behind the podium. In ways, he was similar to Alex Trebek in his delivery.

His TV experience started when he was an intern on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” directly out of college. He would go on to be the executive producer of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” afterward. He was also behind the 2020 celebrity-driven version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Richards hasn’t been with “Jeopardy!” long, but it was certainly enough time to build a connection with the late iconic host Alex Trebek and the rest of the team.

Richards is used to being behind the camera, so wasn’t quite used to the outpouring of support and admiration from viewers at home.

“I was very surprised by the reaction to me, and very flattered. I think it speaks to the passion of our fan base that they can (embrace) a guy that’s unknown. I’ve produced for a really long time, and I take great pride in my career path and my work ethic … ” Richards said in an interview, according to USA Today.