Sony Pictures Television announced Wednesday that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards will become host of the long-running daily syndicated program and actress Mayim Bialik will host primetime and spin-off specials.
“Sony Pictures Television (SPT) today announced that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik have been named as the new hosts of Jeopardy!,” a press release says. “Richards will kick off Season 38 as the full-time host of Jeopardy!’s long-running daily syndicated program. Bialik joins as the host of Jeopardy!’s primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming all-new Jeopardy! National College Championship set to air on ABC next year, as the studio looks to extend the Jeopardy! franchise to new platforms. Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time winner Ken Jennings will return as consulting producer for the show.”
It’s noted that Richards will continue to serve as executive producer of Jeopardy! as well as Wheel of Fortune.
“We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of America’s Favorite Quiz Show with Mike hosting our daily show and Mayim hosting new versions of Jeopardy!,” said Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures. “We took this decision incredibly seriously. 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 said they knew they wanted to divide the hosting duties, and “it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices” and are confident the pair “will carry on the legacy of this iconic show.”
Richards said he was “deeply honored” and “incredibly humbled,” having worked with Trebek and being “fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close.”
Bialik said she was “thrilled,” adding, “What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life!”
Production on Season 38 begins in mid-August, with new episodes starting September 13.
Both Richards and Bialik were among the guest hosts filling in following the November death of Trebek from pancreatic cancer. Others included LeVar Burton, Aaron Rodgers, Ken Jennings, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie and Katie Couric.
There has been buzz around Richards stepping into the role — and not the best kind. After it was reported he was in talks to be the permanent host, Jeopardy! watchers complained on social media saying he wasn’t as good as some of the other guest hosts.
Then, allegations surfaced that Richards mistreated workers when he was at The Price Is Right in the 2010s. He denied the alleged pregnancy discrimination and workplace abuse, which he had been sued over, telling Jeopardy! staff that the allegations do not “reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together.” He also insisted he “would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”
As for Bialik —who has had a long, successful acting career starring in Blossom, Big Bang Theory and Call Me Cat, to name a few —she quickly earned rave reviews following her co-hosting debut.