‘Wheel of Fortune’ Names Mike Richards’ Replacement for 40th Season

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

The Wheel of Fortune team has reportedly named Bellamie Blackstone as the new executive producer of the hit game show following Mike Richards’ departure. Along with Blackstone’s announcement, Steve Schwartz is now a co-executive producer. He was previously supervising producer. 

According to Deadline, Schwartz stepped in to oversee the production of Wheel of Fortune’s 39th season. This was after Mike Richards left the show for his short-lived hosting duties of Jeopardy! 

Ballamie shared more details about her new role with the media outlet. “It is incredibly exciting to be asked to join such an iconic show. Wheel of Fortune is a classic and I’m thrilled to be working with Steve and the entire Wheel of Fortune team. Taking this beloved show into the next 40 years.”

Suzanne Prete, Executive Vice President of Game Shows for Sony Pictures Television, also spoke about Bellamine’s position on Wheel of Fortune. “With Bellamie joining as executive producer and Steve stepped up as a co-executive producer of Wheel of Fortune, we have a terrific team to shepherd this iconic show into the future.”

Prete also described the Bellamie as being a creative force with a fresh perspective. Which will help the game show “extend and expand” in exciting new ways. Prete then stated, “Throughout season 39, Steve has demonstrated remarkable leadership. That is equaled only by his historical knowledge of the show.”

Meanwhile, Schwartz said that Wheel of Fortune has an incredible production group that he is proud to be a part of. “We are gratified to have produced a show that has linked generations. Who has invited it into their homes each week night. I look forward to welcoming Bellamie and working with her to preserve that legacy. And build on it for future generations.”

Why Mike Richards Departed as Executive Producer of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! 

The announcement of Ballamie and Schwartz’s promotions to executive producers comes a little over six months after Mike Richards infamously departed the position from both Wheel of Future and Jeopardy! 

Deadline revealed at the time that Prete sent out an internal note to staff explaining that Mike Richards left both shows after he stepped down as Jeopardy! host. 

Mike Richards decided to vacate the hosting position after his controversial comments from his podcast The Randumb Show resurfaced. In the internal memo, Prete shared, “We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! It would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.”

Mike Richards notably stepped down from Jeopardy! Following the podcast scandal. He shared in a message, according to Entertainment Tonight, at the time, “I want to apologize to each of [the team] for the unwanted negative attention that has to Jeopardy! Over the last few weeks. And for the confusion and delays, this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your test and confidence.”