Mike Richards was introduced as “the host of ‘Jeopardy!’” for the first time Monday night, during the quiz show’s season premiere.
And for viewers who hadn’t been following the saga of Richards’ hiring and firing over the past several weeks, there would be no reason to believe that anything was amiss.
What happened during Mike Richards’ debut as ‘Jeopardy!’ host?
Richards walked out onto the set of “Jeopardy!” — now named “The Alex Trebek Stage” — and introduced viewers to the show’s contestants. He then proclaimed: “For the first time, from the ‘The Alex Trebek Stage,’ let’s play ‘Jeopardy!’”
#TheGameContinues today with brand-new episodes of #Jeopardy!— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) September 13, 2021
Don't miss returning champ Matt Amodio and 2 challengers as they face off on the newly-dedicated Alex Trebek Stage.
Read more updates here: https://t.co/qwqhIOO1IQ pic.twitter.com/Ozntb2Tffm
And the game carried on as it has for decades.
“Jeopardy!” — a show that has seen very little change in format over the years and, subsequently, very little controversy, provided no indication or disclaimer that the host fans were seeing on TV had already been fired. There was no mention that Richards’ introduction as “the host of ‘Jeopardy!’” was in fact short-lived, only to be valid through Friday, Sept. 17 .
Perhaps that decision was made out of respect for the show’s contestants — after all, Trebek himself adamantly believed the players were the stars of “Jeopardy!,” not the host.
But not addressing Richards’ truncated run as the show’s official host in any way only means that more questions and confusion will arise next Monday, when neuroscientist and actress Mayim Bialik is likely introduced as the guest host for the following three weeks.
For a show that is based on knowledge and facts, it seems odd for “Jeopardy!” to not provide that transparency to its viewers.
But hosting drama aside, Jeopardy!” fans have an incredible storyline to follow in contestant Matt Amodio, who secured his 19th win during Monday night’s season premiere.
Matt Amodio continues his winning streak on ‘Jeopardy!’
While he’s definitely not oblivious to the ongoing controversy on “Jeopardy!,” Amodio has said it’s far from his mind.
“Frankly, the last thing I’m thinking about when I’m in the middle of a game is who’s hosting,” Amodio, a computer science Ph.D. student at Yale University, recently told The Washington Post. “‘Cause I’m trying to pull these really obscure facts out of my brain, and that takes all the mental energy I can afford at the moment.”
Amodio dominated during Monday night’s game, finding — and correctly answering — all three Daily Doubles. Going into the Final Jeopardy round, Amodio had $42,800 — about six times more than the contestant in second place.
The game was his to win, and he didn’t need to make a large wager during the Final Jeopardy round. But Amodio still put up $25,000 for the following clue that fell under the category “The 13 Colonies”: “Founded by an advocate of religious freedom, it was the site of America’s first Baptist church (and) oldest synagogue.”
Amodio came up with the correct response: “What is Rhode Island?”
With that conclusion, Amodio inched his way closer to Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer in the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame with a 19-game winning streak total of $642,601 (Jennings holds first place with a $2.52 million total, while Holzhauer sits in a close second with $2.46 million).
Richards then signed off by saying: “What an incredible way to kick off the season! Let’s do it again tomorrow. Hope to see you then.”
But, of course, it’s the fans who will outlive Richards when it comes to returning to the show.