'Jeopardy!' Producer and Guest Host Mike Richards Makes On-Air Tribute to Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! producer Mike Richards is the new guest host of the iconic game show, and on Monday he made a heartfelt on-air tribute to late host Alex Trebek. At the beginning of the episode, his first as interim host, Richards explained that due to a large number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles where the show tapes, future guest hosts have been "understandably a little reticent to shoot. "So, as the producer, my job is to quite literally live the mantra 'the show must go on,'" Richards said. "So let’s do what Alex Trebek did 8,244 times: Let’s play Jeopardy! and prove that nothing can stop this show."

During the closing of the episode, Richards looked toward the camera and paid homage to Trebek, saying, "I just want to say, as Alex said, we’re trying to build a kinder and gentler society. And if we all pitch in just a little bit, we’re going to get there. See you next time." This was in reference to a powerful speech Trebek gave during one of his final Jeopardy! episodes. The episode then closed with a graphic that read, "Dedicated to Alex Trebek. Forever in our Hearts, Always our Inspiration."

Before becoming an executive producer at Jeopardy! Richards served as host of Beauty and the Geek and GSN's Pyramid. He also worked behind the scenes on many other game shows, including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Weakest Link, The Price Is Right, and Let's Make a Deal. Before Drew Carey was chosen, Richards was considered as a replacement for Bob Barker when the iconic host exited The Price is Right.

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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." Richards' run as guest host of Jeopardy! will last until March 5, at which time legendary journalist and talk show host Katie Couric will step in to guest-host for a series of episodes. Following Couric, there a number of other interim hosts lined up, including Anderson Cooper and Aaron Rodgers.