Since Alex Trebek’s tragic passing in November 2020, Jeopardy! has been testing the waters with new hosts. Producer Mike Richards recently picked up lead duties following Ken Jenning’s six-week stint... but many are wondering: who is he?
The 45-year-old has a television career spanning two decades and, in that time, landed three Daytime Emmy Awards and 17 nominations. He also produced shows such as The Weakest Link, Let’s Make A Deal, Wheel of Fortune and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, according to NY Daily News.
He appeared on screen as a Beauty and the Geek host; he also appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful and Unsung Hollywood, but is much more prominent behind the camera — that is, before social media began to root for Richards as Trebek’s permanent replacement.
Since Trebek’s passing, a permanent host has not been decided upon, which means that others have been temporarily taking the stage.
Katie Couric, who formally hosted Today and CBS Evening News, will host Jeopardy! on March 8 until Dr. Mehmet Oz steps in on March 22. Then, 2015 Celebrity Jeopardy! winner and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will fill in for two weeks on April 5. Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupa, Bill Whitaker and Mayim Bialik are also slated to appear, according to USA Today.
The guest hosts each get a two-week run but taped 10 episodes each in January.
When it came to stepping into the late host’s shows, Richards found it "easier," he said, "because I’m an executive producer."
"So if I didn’t like the way (a clue) was written I could get mad at me. Once I was able to get (past) the enormity of the man who stood behind the lectern for the better part of four decades … it was very fun. But at every commercial break, as I stepped back, I would think of Alex, who he was, how great he was, and it was easy to get in your head that way.
"I didn’t know I was going to be doing it until three days before, and so I had not prepared myself to host in the way that I know other guest hosts are," Richards admitted to USA Today. "So there was just a lot to unpack.
"Plus, I also only owned one suit, so there was a little bit of scrambling there.
"It was very fun; 'humbling' doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. It hit me like a ton of bricks when Johnny Gilbert announced my name. That’s of course the last thing you hear when you start to walk out. … and it was overwhelming in the moment."
Scroll down to see the reactions to Richard’s stint:
Fans were impressed after Richards' first game.
The Perfect Host
With good looks, a nice voice and charm, fans thought Richards fit the bill.
The Next Best Thing
While Richards won't replace Trekek, many viewers thought he was the next best thing.
Many viewers hope to see Richards again after his guest stint.
With so many hosts on the roster, Richards still has people on his side.