In a post-Alex Trebek world, “Jeopardy!” will reportedly move forward with two hosts.
On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Television announced that Mike Richards, the executive producer of “Jeopardy!”, will host the beloved quiz show, while neuroscientist and actress Mayim Bialik, known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory,” will host primetime and spin-off specials of “Jeopardy!” — including the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” that will air on ABC next year.
“We took this decision incredibly seriously,” Ravi Ahuja, chairman of global television studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures, said in a statement that was shared on Twitter by “Jeopardy!” beat writer Claire McNear, of The Ringer.
“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 continued. “A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over the footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and ‘Jeopardy!’ viewers.”
Ahuja said the studio knew early on it wanted to split hosting duties, and Richards and Bialik emerged as the “undeniable choices.”
The Daily Beast first broke the news Wednesday morning. The Deseret News has reached out to Sony Pictures Television for comment.
The news comes as “Jeopardy!” is wrapping up a season that featured 16 guest hosts over seven months. Sportscaster Joe Buck brings the show’s 37th season to an end on Friday, Aug. 13.
Last week, Variety broke the news that Richards was in “advanced negotiations” to become Trebek’s successor — news that led to some backlash as there were fan favorites like Jennings and “Reading Rainbow” star LeVar Burton, the Deseret News reported.
In some ways, Richards, who although has an extensive history with game shows, was one of the more unlikely candidates to take on the permanent gig as host since he had initially claimed to only be stepping in at the last minute due to a schedule conflict with one of the guest hosts, The Ringer reported.
But according to The Ringer, the situation that led to Richards filling in in the first place wasn’t as dire as it seemed.
Sources close to the quiz show told The Ringer that an upcoming host had a small scheduling conflict that the “Jeopardy!” staff and crew could’ve worked around. Instead, Richards reportedly insisted on stepping up and hosting. That incident, combined with Richards’ subsequent statements to the public that he was filling in during an emergency-type situation, “raised some eyebrows internally,” The Ringer reported.
Many “Jeopardy!” fans, though, enjoyed Richards as host, commenting on how easily he seemed to slip into the role, the Deseret News reported. In terms of ratings, Richards came in second behind Jennings, who was the inaugural guest host following Trebek’s death.
Earlier this week, Richards released an internal memo to “Jeopardy!” staff stating that the show had not yet made a final decision but confirming that he had been asked to consider hosting “Jeopardy!” He also addressed past discrimination lawsuits that emerged during his time as executive producer of “The Price is Right.”
Bialik, meanwhile, approached her role as guest host with a great deal of enthusiasm.
Bialik took on the role for two weeks in the late spring, and said she cried when her time was over.
“I didn’t want to leave,” she said during her “Jeopardy!” interview. “This is one of the most iconic things that I can be part of in my life. Of all the things I’ve done, of all the acting I’ve done, of all the advocacy I’ve done, and all my academic things, this is the most globally understood, absolutely incredible thing to be part of. It’s unbelievable.”
Based on show ratings, Bialik came in a three-way tie for No. 6, alongside fellow guest hosts Dr. Mehmet Oz and Buzzy Cohen, according to The Wrap. Bialik has long been open about wanting to host “Jeopardy!” permanently — “If people find me tolerable, this is a dream job,” she told USA Today earlier this year.
On Wednesday, she confirmed the news that she had officially obtained the “dream job.”
“IT’S TRUE!!!” the actress wrote on Twitter. “Been waiting a long time to tell you all. Really really honored and astounded and excited for this — it’s beyond anything I ever imagined could happen.”