Jeopardy! is a TV institution with over 30 years on the air, still in much the same form that the show was originally conceived. After long-time host Alex Trebek died in 2020, the show struggled to find a new host.
After months of auditioning guest hosts for the prestigious position, fans were frustrated when executive producer Mike Richards was chosen to succeed Trebek in the role, rather than all the other talented performers who tried out. Fans were confused by his appointment to the hosting gig and flabbergasted when Richards abruptly stepped down from the role shortly after being named the host.
The Legacy of ‘Jeopardy!’
After nearly 60 years on TV, it’s hard to imagine the TV landscape without the popular game show. As Alex Trebek was the show host for over 36 years, his name is almost synonymous with Jeopardy! in most fans’ minds.
After Trebek’s death in 2020, the show faced a serious challenge as to who may be suitable to replace the iconic host. Star after star showed up on the program for a long string of guest host spots that seemed to be closer to live auditions. While every fan of the show had slightly different opinions of who should get the gig in the end, few thought that executive producer Mike Richards was actually in the running for the job when he showed up for his turn at hosting.
Though Richards has only been with Jeopardy! for a few years as executive producer, he’s a very familiar name in the game show world, previously working on Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price Is Right. While fans were surprised to see that he took a turn hosting his show, they were shocked when he was named the full-time host alongside Miyam Bialik.
A very short tenure
Even without Alex Trebek’s more than three decades on Jeopardy! to compare against, as the new host, Mike Richards was out in a hurry. Most fans certainly weren’t happy about him essentially hiring himself for the prestigious job, but ABC was quick to reassure fans that Richards was the best for the job.
Despite ABC coming to his defense in what looked like a really bizarre case of nepotism, problems from Richards’ past caught up with him. According to Deadline, the new host quit the job before getting started after his role in several harassment and discrimination lawsuits came out from his time on The Price Is Right. Mike Richards certainly wasn’t a popular man among Jeopardy! fans before, but leaving the show was probably a safe bet after the vitriol created by this news.
The future of ‘Jeopardy!’
According to Vox, ABC announced on August 31st that Richards would be stepping down. Not only would he be stepping down as the host of Jeopardy!, but he would also be leaving his role as executive producer on both The Price is Right and Jeopardy!. His dramatic ascent and quick exit leave many things about the future unsure for the show that has previously been an unflappable force of consistency on TV.
When Richards was cast as the host, actor Mayim Bialik was a secondary host for Primetime and special event shows. This daily double of hosts was supposed to take on the job together, but for now, it seems as if Bialik will be temporarily hosting on her own. In the long term, it’s probably time to start sampling hosts again. Hopefully, the next one lasts longer than a few days.
RELATED: LeVar Burton Fans — and the Star Himself — React to ‘Jeopardy!’s Future Without Him at the Lectern