Mike Richards Stepping Down as New ‘Jeopardy!’ Game Show Host

In a surprise development, Mike Richards, the newly named host of the “Jeopardy!” game show, reportedly stepped down from the position Aug. 20, with the venerable Sony Pictures Television syndicated show reverting back to guest hosts. The Aug. 20 taping was canceled.

The move would not appear to affect other new “Jeopardy” co-host Mayim Bialik, who is set to host select primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming “Jeopardy! National College Championship,” set to air on ABC next year.

Richards left his position following online reports about past offensive comments made by the longtime TV producer, whose credits include “The Price is Right” game show.

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“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on ‘Jeopardy!’ as we look to start a new chapter,” Richards said in an Aug. 20 memo first reported by CNN.

Richards and Bialik were named co-hosts earlier this month following a nationwide search to replace longtime host Alex Trebek, who died last year of cancer.

Sony Pictures Television Names Mayim Bialik and Mike Richards as ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosts

Sony Pictures Television Aug. 11 announced that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Call Me Kat”) have been named as the new hosts of the venerable game show “Jeopardy!”

Richards will kick off Season 38 as the full-time daily host of the long-running syndicated program. Bialik joins as the host of the show’s primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming “Jeopardy! National College Championship” set to air on ABC next year.

“Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” winner Ken Jennings will return as consulting producer for the show. Richards will continue to serve as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

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“We took this decision incredibly seriously,” Ravi Ahuja, chairman of global television studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures, said in a statement.

Ahuja said a “tremendous amount” of work and deliberation went into the selection process of selecting a replacement for longtime host Alex Trebek, who died of cancer Nov. 8, 2020. A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels, focus groups and input from Sony’s 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,” he said. “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.”

“Jeopardy! National College Championship” will feature 15 colleges from across the country going head-to-head for two weeks of competition.

A series of guest hosts have each taken a turn at the Jeopardy! lectern this past season, including Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen and David Faber.

As part of each host’s appearance, a donation was made to a charity of their choice, with the amount donated equaling the cumulative winnings of the contestants that competed during the weeks they served as guest host. In total, Jeopardy! donated nearly $3 million to various charities this past season. Richards’ guest hosting appearances aired Feb. 22 to March 5, 2021, and Bialik served as guest host from May 31 to June 11, 2021.

Richards signed a multiyear overall deal with Sony Pictures in 2019. Prior to that, he served as executive producer of “The Price Is Right” for 11 years. A four-time Daytime Emmy Award winner and 19-time nominee, Richards also served as executive producer of “Let’s Make a Deal” and has produced more than 4,000 hours of game show programming. Richards is also known for his work in front of the camera, having hosted five series, including “Beauty and the Geek,” Game Show Network’s 2016–17 version of “Divided” and the 2012 revival of “The Pyramid.”

Outside of acting, Bialik is the host of the mental health podcast “Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown” and she recently wrote and directed her first feature film, As Sick As They Made Us, starring Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen.

“Jeopardy! will begin production on Season 38 in mid-August, with new episodes launching on Sept. 13.