Now that Jeopardy!’s daily syndicated episode will no longer be hosted by Mike Richards following his stepping down from the post amid scandal regarding a host of past comments and allegations of improper behavior during his time at The Price Is Right, the show needs to figure out what direction it’s going to go in next. According to a report by Brian Stelter of CNN, all roads right now appear to be leading to arguably the most sensible Alex Trebek replacement.
Stelter wrote that conversations with “this year’s guest hosts, wannabe hosts, agents, TV executives and others close to the Mike Richards mess” have led to one overwhelming belief: Ken Jennings is in pole position to become the next host.
The sources have the same questions I have: Why did Sony botch this so badly? Did Richards rig the host search in his favor? Will he remain the show’s executive producer? And who will take over as host?
To address that final question first, most of the sources said Ken Jennings is now the hands-down favorite for the host job. “They have to give it to him now, don’t they?” one TV agent said.
Two other names that Stelter claims have been thrown out are fan favorite LeVar Burton (whose name “keeps coming up” in conversations, per the report) and, while citing the Los Angeles Times, Mayim Bialik, who is still in line to host primetime specials of the show. A report from last week indicated that there was a sentiment around the Jeopardy! crew that Jennings was Trebek’s hand-picked successor due to a gift that he received prior to his guest hosting stint, and while his comments in light of Richards’ ouster were more focused on the future, Jennings has been among the names that has made sense for this job from day one. Whether or not he ends up getting it, though, remains to be seen.