Jeopardy! finally has a full-time executive producer after the Mike Richards drama that unfolded last year. Michael Davies, who was serving as interim executive producer since Richards was ousted, was promoted to executive producer Thursday. The news comes a few weeks after Bellamie Blackstone was named Richards' replacement at Wheel of Fortune.
Davies announced the news in a blog post on the Jeopardy! website, confirming he accepted Sony Pictures Television's offer to oversee the beloved game show. "I am both honored and humbled by the faith the studio and the staff have put in me," Davies wrote. "Over the next few months, the scope of our plans will become clear. But, for now, I just want to thank everyone in the Jeopardy! community for your phenomenal support."
Davies has over three decades of television experience. His resume includes stints at Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, The Newlywed Game, The Substitute, The Pyramid, The Glee Project, Wife Swap, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Talking with Chris Hardwick, and Talking Dead. In his post Thursday, Davies assured fans he will not be making changes to the format of Jeopardy! fans have loved for decades.
"Jeopardy! does not need to be imagined or reimagined. It is honestly the most perfect idea, both classic and essentially modern," Davies wrote. "Its air is filled with a constant barrage of brilliant writing and a parade of memorable contestants. We have two gifted hosts. The team who make the show are passionate about their work and committed to the daily pursuit of excellence that Jeopardy! requires. We have an unfailingly supportive parent studio in Sony Pictures, a first-class distribution partner in CBS Media Ventures, and a collection of 214 (!!!) outstanding television stations from coast to coast and everywhere in between who broadcast our program."
Although Davies did not mention it Thursday, one of his top priorities will likely be to find a full-time host. The Richards scandal left Jeopardy! with a second consecutive season without one, as Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings have split time this year. During the 2020-2021 season, the first full season after Alex Trebek's death, Richards arranged a carousel of celebrity guest hosts, only to name himself the full-time host.
Richards' decision to name himself Jeopardy! host began his downfall. Two weeks after he named himself host, The Ringer published excerpts of his offensive and sexist comments from a podcast he hosted when he worked at The Price is Right in 2013 and 2014. Allegations of workplace misconduct from his Price days also resurfaced. After just one day of filming, Richards was fired as host but remained executive producer until he was finally forced out on Aug. 31, 2021.
Richards served as executive producer for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, replacing Harry Friedman, who retired in 2020. Sony named Blackstone Wheel's new EP in late March, with Steve Schwartz as co-executive producer. Wheel hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White are signed through the 2023-2024 season.