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Thoughts on Who Should Host Jeopardy! After the Mike Richards Scandal

August 23, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Jeopardy Mike Richards

I was all set to make a cheap “in the form of a question” joke for the latest Jeopardy! news but it seems EVERYONE has made that joke so let’s skip into things. 

Turns out Mike Richards will not become the new permanent host of Jeopardy! as Sony Pictures Television announced that he was stepping down from the role. It should be noted that Richards is also the show’s executive producer.

The upcoming season of Jeopardy! began filming Thursday with Richards as host, but on Friday morning he released the following statement:

“Dear Team,

It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.

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.

SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.

I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”

Sony added their own statement: “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward. Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”

Sony confirmed the episodes Richards shot on Thursday will still air during the upcoming season as scheduled, followed by a rotation of guest hosts until a new permanent host is selected.

So he keeps his old job and loses his new one. 

This all follows the reports by The Ringer about derogatory comments made by Richards on his podcast The Randumb Show in 2013-14, including mocking women’s weight, calling one model a “booth slut”, and repeatedly praising “the average white-guy host.”

Richards had issued a statement about his podcast comments: “It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry. The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around. Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.”

When Richards was announced as the show’s host last week he quickly received backlash for his comments and raised suspicions that he appointed himself the new host. Or at the very least influenced the decision making. 
On top of all that, Richards was the subject of a discrimination bias lawsuit during his time as executive producer of The Price Is Right.

At the time of the announcement, Sony also appointed actress Mayim Bialik as the host of the Jeopardy! primetime and spinoff series.

So with Richards out, the question turns to who will fill Alex Trebek’s role as host?

Taking a look at the other guest hosts who were originally in the mix to replace Trebek includes:
LeVar Burton
David Faber
Buzzy Cohen 
Ken Jennings
Savannah Guthrie
Sanjay Gupta
Anderson Cooper
Aaron Rodgers
Dr. Oz
Katie Couric
George Stephanopoulos
Robin Roberts 
Joe Buck

All solid choices. Jennings seems like he’d be the easy choice with Rodgers right behind him. Both had big ratings when they hosted and seemed a good fit for the show. 

With the search back on I’m hoping they open things up a little and bring on more people you wouldn’t expect. Instead of trying to find the next Trebek, which is impossible, find the next great game show host. 

Who do you want to see hosting?

article topics :

Jeopardy, Steve Gustafson