Jeopardy! has found its next permanent host and it reportedly hasn’t gone very far outside of its studio to find it.
Variety reported on Wednesday that Mike Richards is lined up to be the next permanent host of the show, finally landing on a replacement for the late Alex Trebek after a number of guest hosts essentially trying out for the role for the entirety of 2021.
“Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards is in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television to become permanent host of the venerable quiz show, taking the reins of the syndicated powerhouse that was fronted for 36 years by Alex Trebek.
A Sony Pictures spokesman said that discussions were ongoing with several potential candidates. He would not comment specifically on Richards’ status. A source close to the situation cautioned that there’s no certainty that the sides will close a deal and that other candidates remained in the mix, although Richards is clearly the front-runner.
Richards was one of the show’s early guest hosts along with Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings. What followed was a long string of hosts including Aaron Rodgers, LeVar Burton and disgraced medical “expert” Dr. Oz. Many of those hosts were met with controversy, praise or ambivalence from fans, as they watched fortnight after fortnight of new hosts and commented on their aptitude on social media.
Landing on Richards isn’t exactly surprising: he did well in the role and was hired by the show to serve as EP after hosting shows like Divided and The Pyramid. It was widely reported that the show intended to finalize a permanent host in time for its next season, which will be filmed and officially start later in the fall. If Richards does indeed finalize a deal, the show’s future will be firmed up for the first time since Alex Trebek’s cancer diagnosis in 2019 made many fans worry about the future of one of the most beloved game shows on television.