Richards guest-hosted earlier this year along with a slew of more well-known celebrities. For a while, fans were convinced that “Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings would clinch the job, or quarterback Aaron Rodgers, or ‘Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton. But none of those guests even made the top three contender spots, Variety reports.
According to their source at Sony Pictures Television, Richards is in “advanced negotiations” for the position, followed by Mayim Bialik and Buzzy Cohen. But nothing’s a done deal, and both sides have to come to an agreement about contracts.
“Jeopardy!” started searching for a permanent host after the tragic passing of the legendary Alex Trebek. He died of pancreatic cancer back in November 2020, surrounded by friends and family in his Burbank, California, home. Trebek hosted the game show with poise and compassion for 37 years.
Filling his shoes will be no easy task for whoever the network decides on. But Richards has an advantage that Bialik and Cohen don’t: he’s already worked behind-the-scenes for “Jeopardy!” and hosted tons of other game shows in the past.
What Game Shows Did ‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Mike Richards Work On?
According to Parade, Richards got his start out of college hosting several reality television shows. For WB, Richards hosted “High School Reunion,” while also working on the CW’s “Beauty and the Geek.” In 2012, Richards shifted over to the Game Show Network to host “The Pyramid” and “Divided.”
But he also discovered a passion for working behind-the-scenes on different game shows. Before joining “Jeopardy!” last year, Richards produced more than 4,000 hours of game show television. He spent over a decade executive producing “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” as well as the 2020 version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Now, Richards produces “Wheel of Fortune” as well as “Jeopardy!”.
Mike Richards Talks About Alex Trebek, Being Guest Host
Parade exclusively interviewed Richards after the news broke about his front-runner position. He told the outlet that guest-hosting “Jeopardy!” has “been the honor of my life. I felt even closer to the contestants than usual. I am always pulling for the contestants to succeed, but as host, I was living and dying on their responses, especially on the Daily Doubles.”
During his time as guest host, Richards made sure to pay tribute to the late Alex Trebek. With Parade, he talked about the things he misses most about the late host.
“I miss so many things it is hard to describe,” Richards said. “I miss his calm reassuring nature. I miss his stories. I miss his humor and trying to make him laugh. I miss seeing him walk out at the top of the show and take command. SO many things!”
We’ll see when the network reveals if Richards is in fact the permanent host, and what “Jeopardy!” fans have to say about the decision.