'Jeopardy!' Executive Producer Mike Richards Is Reportedly in Negotiations to Be Official Host -- Fans React
By Antoinette Bueno
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Jeopardy! might have its new permanent host following the death of its iconic host of 36 years, Alex Trebek. Variety reports that the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, is in advanced negotiations to be the show's new host.
The outlet reports that a source close to the situation says 46-year-old Richards is the front-runner to be the new permanent Jeopardy! host, though other candidates are still being considered. A Sony Pictures spokesman tells Variety that discussions are ongoing with several potential candidates.
Richards is one of many guest hosts the beloved trivia show has had since Trebek's death in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer. More well-known guest hosts that have been rumored to be vying for the gig are Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton.
Although Richards may be less famous, he does have hosting experience. He's served as host for High School Reunion on The WB network and Beauty and the Geek for The CW, and also previously hosted Divided and The Pyramid on GSN. Behind the scenes, aside from Jeopardy!, Richards has executive produced multiple iconic game shows like The Price Is Right, Let's Make a Deal and the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Still, some fans were not overly enthusiastic about Trebek's potential replacement, given other well-known candidates and Richards' role as executive producer.
Burton appeared to react to the surprising news on Twitter on Thursday, thanking his fans for their support.
"I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I've won," he wrote. "The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure. 🙏🏾."
I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure. 🙏🏾
Meanwhile, not long after Trebek's death, ET spoke with Richards, who said the late game show host didn't mention any names about who he wanted to replace him, but did offer up attributes he was looking for in a successor.
"Typical Alex. He was self-deprecating [and] said, 'It's not that hard.' Let me tell you that it is maybe the hardest show on TV to host; 61 clues in 22 minutes, accents, pronunciations, scoring, calling on people, ruling on the answers," Richards recalled. "He talked a lot about how it needs to be someone that the audience will respect, that's believable in the role [and] has credibility... He was so smart that you bought it, because you knew he knew the answer, too."
"I spoke to him shortly before he passed actually and he was very confident that I could do it," he told ET. "He just kind of took it for granted and I was like, 'Alex, that is very sweet but you know you are the best at that job,' but I appreciated his trust."