Only nine days after being appointed as the new host of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards exited America’s iconic quiz show after numerous insensitive comments he made in the past resurfaced. This came alongside two previous discrimination lawsuits from his time on The Price Is Right. Richards was subsequently fired as executive producer of Jeopardy!. In response, the senior executives at Sony Pictures Television appointed an interim exec producer and Richards’ replacement hosts – inciting the fans’ outrage at the show.
According to Variety, Jeopardy’s Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will host the show’s remaining episodes for the rest of the year, as the search for a final, permanent host continues. Bialik, who, as per our previous report, joined Jeopardy! alongside Mike Richards, will take over hosting duties for the first couple of weeks, starting September 20 through November 5. The announcement wasn’t well-received among the show’s fandom, given that Bialik herself was at the center of controversy due to her positions regarding sexual harassment towards women, her support of the anti-vaccination movement (though she’s allegedly vaccinated), and her significant backing of a questionable cognitive supplement.
Bialik initially joined Jeopardy! as a primetime and spin-off host of the show. However, due to Mike Richards’ departure, Bialik and Jennings, the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, will trade off as their schedules permit, taping enough episodes to get Jeopardy! through the end of the year. However, the show’s fans seem to disagree with Sony Pictures Television’s (SPT’s) decision to keep Bialik as the show’s host, calling out for the return of LeVar Burton, one of the show’s guest hosts who filled in for the late Alex Trebek.
LeVar Burton has previously hosted Jeopardy! – an experience the actor deemed terrifying due to internally perceived challenges of following the great Alex Trebek’s footsteps. LeVar Burton later stated that the experience was very tense and focus-demanding, though he still considers himself a solid match for a game show that rewards knowledge. Before his addition to the show, the actor best known as Commander Gordi La Forge from Star Trek made the producers aware of his interest in hosting Jeopardy! His later addition to the roster of “filler” hosts was facilitated by a petition that backed him up with more than 250,000 signatures. And though his performance as the host was somewhat uninspiring initially, the actor still enjoys massive support from the show’s fans.
The lengthy and seemingly disastrous hunt for the new host of Jeopardy! began after legendary host Alex Trebek died on November 8, 2020. The executive producers at Sony Pictures Television filled in the main emcee slot with a series of guest hosts, which included the show’s current hosts, Bialik and Jennings, and LeVar Burton. Other guest hosts included Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper, Buzzy Cohen, David Faber, Aaron Rodgers, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sunjay Gupta, Bill Whitaker, Joe Buck, and Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Given the current state of Jeopardy! and the apparent scarcity of people SPT deems qualified to run the show, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for Bialik and Jennings to helm the show into the following year. Unless the fans get their way, and LeVar Burton re-joins Jeopardy!