Jeopardy! is one step closer to finding a permanent replacement for late host Alex Trebek. The game show has been bringing on celebrity guest hosts for two-week stints after its beloved longtime host died in November 2020, but hasn't officially named Trebek's successor. That may change soon, as executive producer Mike Richards is in "advanced negotiations" with Sony Pictures Television to become the permanent host, Variety reported Wednesday.
It was a tight race to take over the iconic game show that Trebek hosted for 36 years before his death due to pancreatic cancer, but Richards' time guest hosting the show in the interim made quite the impression on viewers and critics alike. Keep scrolling to read more of what people had to say when Richards' stepped from behind the camera to behind the podium and learn more about his career so far.
'Best Guest Host'
At the time he took over as guest host, people were praising Richards as the best they had seen so far.
Absolutely love Mike Richards as #JeopardyHost!!!— Patricia Murphy (@PattiHyphen) February 27, 2021
@Jeopardy Executive producer Mike Richards is doing a fantastic job hosting. The best guest host so far— OneCheekyChick 🇨🇦 ☃️ (@OneCheekyChicky) February 27, 2021
'Stop the Search'
Others thought the search for Trebek's replacement could have wrapped up in February after watching Richards' demeanor on stage.
IMO, Mike Richards is doing a great job as @Jeopardy host. They can should stop the search now.— Nancy Babendir (@nancybabs) February 27, 2021
Mike Richards should be the permanent host of Jeopardy. I like that he's not already famous. He's competent and inoffensive. You don't think about him at all during the games. It's perfect.— Collin Whitchurch (@cowhitchurch) February 27, 2021
'The Alex Vibe'
Having worked with Trebek for years, Richards was praised for nailing the more subtle aspects of the late host's job without feeling disingenuous.
@Jeopardy we are LOVING Mike Richards as the new host!! Ken is great, but Mike has the Alex vibe that has been missing. Keep Mike hosting!— Jimmy P (@jimmypLA) February 27, 2021
Hey @Jeopardy I'm pretty much in love with Mike Richards, so if he could host from now on, that'd be great. His voice is pleasant, his sense of humor is spot on, and much closer to the spirit Alex brought to the show. Plus, he's so hot! Date night every night at 7:30 here we come— Sarah (@xoheartableox) February 27, 2021
USA Today Rankings
Social media isn't the only place Richards' reigned supreme. In USA Today's ranking of the initial guest host slate, he came in the top spot, being praised for his "cool and sleek delivery of clues" and "clever banter." Richards was also complimented for taking cues from Trebek's treatment of the show without directly copying him, which led to an apparent ease in the job.
As for who came in 15th on the list? That low ranking belongs to Dr. Mehmet Oz. The daytime host was controversial from the start, with Jeopardy! candidates speaking out against him coming onto the show due to his reputation for less-than-scientific endorsements and lacked "the quick wit and timing required for this job," according to the publication's list.prevnext
Other guest hosts that have fronted the show since the final Trebek episodes aired in January include Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Bill Whitake, Ken Jennings, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Aaron Rodgers and Buzzy Cohen.
Jennings, who still holds the record for most consecutive Jeopardy! wins with his 2004 74-game streak, was seen as a front-runner for a long time. He was the first guest host to step in for Trebek after his death, but apparently didn't win over the fans enough to keep his slot in the hosting race.prevnext
While a Sony Pictures spokesman told Variety discussions were ongoing with several potential candidates, the publication reported that Richards is in "advanced negotiations" to take the gig. That's no confirmation that the two sides will be able to make a deal, so other candidates reportedly remain in the mix, but Richards has risen above his peers in the eyes of the showrunners. Other candidates that were reportedly considered "standouts" and strongly considered for the permanent job were Bialik and Cohen.prevnext
Richards is no newcomer to the game show world, previously hosting Divided and The Pyramid for GSN. He also hosted reality shows High School Reunion and Beauty and the Geek on The WB and The CW, respectively, before stepping behind the camera to take on more of a production role.
Joining The Price is Right in 2008 as co-executive producer, he became executive producer the following year, also EP-ing the revival of Let's Make a Deal on CBS and the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire specials for ABC. By the time he became the Jeopardy! executive producer, Richards had produced more than 4,000 hours of game shows, according to Variety.prev