'Jeopardy!' Marked Major Alex Trebek Milestone This Week

Friday's (Sept. 10) Jeopardy! episode marked an anniversary, commemorating the first show that beloved host Alex Trebek hosted in 1984. Jeopardy! producers brought Trebek in on the advice of Lucille Ball. He then suggested an old friend Johnny Gilbert for the announcer position. Trebek died in November of last year following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. "For 37 amazing years, Alex was the comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world," Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in a statement at the time. "He was the heart and soul of Jeopardy! and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives. Our hearts go out to Jean, Matthew, Emily and Nicky."

Since his death, Sony Pictures has had a hard time trying to replace the legendary host. The studio believed they'd found the right guy in executive producer Mike Richards, but after some controversial moments from his past resurfaced, Richards turned down the job. "It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter," he said in his statement. "As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today."


He initially stayed on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune as an executive producer, but Sony had a change of heart after many fans called for his firing. According to a memo obtained by Variety, his exit was addressed by executive vice president of business and strategy Suzanne Prete. "I'm writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel and Jeopardy! effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened." Now, it seems Richards is prepping for a legal battle with the studio and could likely walk away with a big payday. In the meantime, the search for a new permanent host continues.