Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards has been set as the show's next guest host, after Ken Jennings' final episodes. Jennings will wrap us his time as the show's interim host this week, and Richards will step in beginning Monday, Feb. 22. He will deliver the clues until March 5, and then legendary journalist and talk show host Katie Couric will step in to guest-host for a series of episodes.
Jennings began guest-hosting Jeopardy! in January, following the final episodes filmed by late host Alex Trebek, who passed away in November. In a video previously posted to the show's official Twitter page, Jennings shared how he was feeling ahead of his time behind the Jeopardy! podium. "I don’t want to be out here. I want to see Alex out here," he said. "But, there are tens of millions of people who love this show, we love this show, Alex loved this show. I’m just happy to fill in and help out."
Ken has come a long way from his contestant days. Here are Ken's thoughts from behind the lectern as first in a series of guest hosts. pic.twitter.com/0HaxSv8mmW— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) January 11, 2021
"It still seems surreal," Jennings went on to say of stepping into Trebek's metaphorical shoes. "It goes beyond nervous. It was a very intense and nerve-wracking experience to be behind this lectern." Jennings later commented on how much more there is to hosting Jeopardy! than he ever knew, which gave him a newfound respect for Trebek, a man he already greatly admired.
"I thought I had studied the man, and I understood just what a remarkable job he was doing, keeping the game going, mastering his sense that he understood all the clues… explaining it to the audience," Jennings explained. "Then when I had to do it, I realized he was doing 10 things I wasn’t aware of for every one that I saw. It’s a very demanding job, and he was the best."
As for Richards, he's no stranger to game show hosting. He previously served as host of Beauty and the Geek and GSN's Pyramid. He has also worked be the scenes on many game shows, including The Price Is Right, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Weakest Link, and Let's Make a Deal. Richards was also considered as a replacement for Bob Barker, when the iconic host left The Price is Right, but Drew Carey was chosen instead.
In a statement shared on the Jeopardy! website, Richards said, "I was very fortunate to have a front-row seat to watch and study Alex. Stepping in as a guest host was incredibly humbling, emotional and a lot of fun. It will forever be the honor of my life."