‘Jeopardy!’ producer Richards named host, role for Bialik
LOS ANGELES (AP):
After weeks of guest hosts on ‘Jeopardy!’ that included celebrities from TV, sports and journalism, the daily syndicated quiz show chose its executive producer, Mike Richards, as the successor to beloved host Alex Trebek.
But after fan backlash to a selection process that turned messy in recent weeks, producer Sony split the pie by naming another guest host, actor Mayim Bialik, as emcee for Jeopardy! prime-time and spin-off series, including a new college championship.
In another nod to Jeopardy! devotees, longest winning-streak champion Ken Jennings will return as a consulting producer.
Richards will retain executive producing duties for Jeopardy! and ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ Sony Pictures Television said in a statement on Wednesday. The studio also appeared to deflect the idea that it was bowing to the dismay that some fans expressed when word leaked last week that Richards would be the pick.
“We knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities, and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices. They were both at the top of our research and analysis,” said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios for Sony Pictures. “We took this decision incredibly seriously.”
In his guest-host appearances, Ahuja said Richards was “at ease behind the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the Jeopardy! brand.”
Richards was the second of the temp hosts who filled the void left by Trebek’s death, with Jeopardy! champs Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, actors Bialik and LeVar Burton, NFL player Aaron Rodgers and TV journalists among the others.