This man and woman are the new hosts of “Jeopardy!”
Who are executive producer Mike Richards and actor Mayim Bialik?
“We took this decision incredibly seriously,” Ravi Ahuja, chairman of global television studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures, said in the release. “A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show – deservedly so because it’s ‘Jeopardy!’ and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek.”
Ahuja added that “a senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and ‘Jeopardy!’ viewers” when making their selections.
Richards, who joined “Jeopardy!” as EP last year, will host the daily version of the show, while “The Big Bang Theory” star Bialik is set to host spinoff specials of the program, beginning with the “Jeopardy! National College Championship.”
Richards, 46, was selected as Trebek’s successor after he “impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner,” according to Variety.
He has had hosting stints on shows like “Divided” and “The Pyramid” for Sony Pictures’ Game Show Network, and on reality shows “High School Reunion” on The WB network and “Beauty and the Geek” for The CW. He also acted as co-executive producer on “The Price Is Right” in 2008 and executive producer of the celebrity edition of the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” specials for ABC.
The Daily Beast reported last week that “multiple women” had sued Richards, alleging he mistreated colleagues while working on “The Price Is Right.” He has pushed back on these claims and said how he has been “characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on ‘The Price is Right.’”
Bialik, 45, has played iconic roles, including the title character on “Blossom” in the early ’90s and neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” She received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007.
Bialik tweeted about the news after Sony’s announcement, expressing her excitement.
Trebek died in November, and the final episodes filmed prior to his death finished airing in January. Since then, a number of guest hosts have taken turns anchoring the show, including LeVar Burton, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Sanjay Gupta, Savannah Guthrie, Ken Jennings, Robin Roberts, Aaron Rodgers, George Stephanopoulos and Bill Whitaker.
Burton in particular generated a lot of buzz, both before and after his turn as guest host. The former “Reading Rainbow” star first tweeted that hosting “Jeopardy!” would be a “dream job” in 2013, and fans have been launching social media campaigns on and off for years to try to make that a reality.
Burton guest hosted “Jeopardy!” for a week in July, and told Entertainment Weekly that it felt “overwhelming on so many levels” to be at Trebek’s lectern.
“You’ve got to be on top of it every second,” Burton told the publication. “It’s really challenging on every level. But it’s a very cool gig, and I feel like given an opportunity, I could get really good at it.”
When reports emerged that Richards would be getting the permanent position, Burton tweeted that “no matter the outcome, I’ve won.”
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible!” he wrote on social media last week. “If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure.”
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