Jeopardy! officially announced its new permanent host on Wednesday, proving previous reports correct. Executive producer Mike Richards will now host the regular syndicated version of the game show throughout the week, while actress Mayim Bialik will host the primetime specials and spinoff series. That includes the National College Championship event recently announced by ABC.
Richards was one of the first guest-hosts of the season after legendary host Alex Trebek passed away last year. After multiple reports indicated that Richards was taking the job, executives from Sony Pictures Television finally confirmed the news on Wednesday. In a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, the company's chairman of global television studios and corporate development Ravi Ahuja said: "We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of America's Favorite Quiz Show with Mike hosting our daily show and Mayim hosting new versions of Jeopardy!"
"We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show – deservedly so because it's Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek. A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers."
"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," Ahuja continued. "They were both at the top of our research and analysis. Mike is a unique talent, 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. We are excited to get to work with them both and are confident that they will carry on the legacy of this iconic show."
Richards and Bialik both released statements along with the news as well. Richards' read: "I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode. Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love. I am thrilled that Mayim is joining the Jeopardy! team. Her academic track record and enthusiasm for the game made her a terrific guest host. It will be a privilege to produce the primetime series with her as host."
Bialik's statement read: "I couldn't be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family. What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I'm so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I'm just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we've had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!"
Jeopardy! wraps up its current season this Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for the correct channel. There is no word on when exactly the new season will begin.