Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik have been named as the new hosts of “Jeopardy!”, Sony said Wednesday, ending months of speculation over who would replace the late beloved host, Alex Trebek.
Richards, the current “Jeopardy!” executive producer, will host the long-running daily syndicated program. And, as a surprise move, actor Bialik will host prime-time and spin-off series of the franchise.
“We have taken this decision incredibly seriously,” said Ravi Ahuja, president of global television studios and business development for Sony Pictures.
“There has been a tremendous amount of work and deliberation, perhaps more than ever in the selection of hosts for a show – rightly so, because it’s ‘Jeopardy!’ and we follow the incomparable Alex Trebek.”
“Danger!” has visited a number of guest hosts since Trebek passed away in November. Potential permanent replacements for Trebek included Ken Jennings, an author with the longest run of wins in ‘Jeopardy!’ history, journalist Katie Couric, professional soccer star Aaron Rodgers, news anchor Anderson Cooper, CNBC financial journalist David Faber, and actor LeVar Burton.
Richards, who signed a multi-year deal with Sony in 2019, is the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” He was executive producer of “The Price is Right” and executive producer of “Let’s Make a Deal” for 11 years. He has hosted several series, including “Beauty and the Geek” and the 2012 revival of “The Pyramid”.
Richards came under scrutiny when rumors first surfaced last week that he could replace Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!”
During his tenure as executive producer of “The Price is Right,” Brandi Cochran filed a lawsuit against CBS and FremantleMedia in 2010. The suit claimed the model was not invited back to the show after she took time off for her pregnancy. The case was eventually settled, but Richards faced additional pregnancy discrimination claims outside of Cochran, which were unsuccessful.
“These were labor dispute allegations against the show,” Richards said in a memo to staff this week. “I want you all to know that the way my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we collaborated on ‘The Price is Right’.”
Bialik, best known for her portrayal of Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” is an author, neuroscientist and executive producer and star of Fox’s “Call Me Kat.”
She hosts ‘Jeopardy! National College Championship’, an all-new tournament pitting 15 colleges against each other in two weeks of exciting head-to-head competition.
Ahuja said a senior group of executives from Sony Picture Television consulted multiple panels and focus groups to select Richards and Bialik.
“We knew early on that we wanted to divide hosting responsibilities and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the obvious choices,” he said. “They were both at the top of our research and our analysis.”