Ken Jennings' last Jeopardy! episodes are airing this week, and many fans are wondering who the next guest host will be. Yahoo! News reports that after Jennings' temporary tenure behind the Jeopardy! podium is up, the show's executive producer, Mike Richards, will be handling host duties. Richards will host from Feb. 22 until March 5, at which point a new guest host will be brought in.
While it may seem unusual to some that the show's EP is stepping in front of the camera, this is actually not Richards' "first rodeo." He has hosted a number of game shows in the past, including Beauty and the Geek, — which aired on The WB and The CW — and Pyramid, for the Game Show Network. He also was in the running to host The Price Is Right after Bob Barker left, before comedian Drew Carey was chosen. In addition to being an executive producer on Jeopardy!, Richards is also an EP for Wheel of Fortune, and has been in the past for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Price Is Right, and Let's Make a Deal.
Richards, who worked alongside Trebek for some time, has issued a statement on his upcoming run as interim host. "I was very fortunate to have a front-row seat to watch and study Alex," he said. "Stepping in as a guest host was incredibly humbling, emotional, and a lot of fun. It will forever be the honor of my life."
Shortly after Trebek's death in November, Richards sat down with EW to speak out the late host and shared some insight into Trebek's final episodes. "I talked to him seven days before what would end up being his final taping session," Richards recalled, "and I said, 'Alex, you're barely up and around. We have a long way to go before you're gonna be back in the studio taping.' He got very firm, which I loved, and he goes, 'I'll be there. Don't you cancel anything.' And sure as heck, he was. He was a warrior."
"Those final five episodes, we shot three the first day and then two the second day, and they were great," Richards then went on to remember. "You'll watch them and you'll go, 'This guy's as healthy as could be. This is not a sick person at all.' He had that much willpower. We knew how much he was fighting, and that's what made the performance even more impressive." Following Richard's run on the show, iconic journalist Katie Couric will guest host Jeopardy!