Following the tragic demise of Alex Trebek, Sony Pictures have selected executive producer Mike Richards and actor Mayim Bialik as replacements.
For nearly four decades Alex Trebek hosted the long-running US quiz program Jeopardy. But following his tragic demise on November 8, 2020, the Emmy-winning show was left without its legendary frontman. For a while, the future of the show hung in the balance but now, after a lot of deliberation, Sony Pictures has finally announced its permanent presenters who would replace Trebek. You read that right, there will be two hosts: programme producer Mike Richards and actress Mayim Bialik who is known for her role in the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
"We took this decision incredibly seriously," said chairman of global television studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures, Ravi Ahuja, in a 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." Per HuffPost, 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" while making the selections.
Announcing Mayim Bialik and Mike Richards as our new hosts of Jeopardy! Richards will host the daily syndicated show, while Bialik will host primetime and spinoff series.https://t.co/MVQAqnKgjU pic.twitter.com/itY6fIe5Uv— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) August 11, 2021
Sony revealed in a statement that Richards, 46, will continue his role as an executive producer of the series while hosting it. According to BBC, he will also remain the producer of the game show Wheel of Fortune. It won't be the first time that we'll see Richards hosting the program because he has previously served as a guest host in winter last year when the show introduced a rotating roster of presenters hoping to find the one perfect for the job. He managed to impress "Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner" and thus was selected as Trebek's successor, per Variety.
Richards has hosted shows like The Pyramid and Divided for Sony Pictures’ Game Show Network and reality shows like CW's Beauty and the Geek and WB's High School Reunion. In 2007 he co-executive produced The Price Is Right and was the executive producer of ABC's celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire specials.
As for Bialik, she will lead "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," noted Sony.
Sony officially announces that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik will be the new hosts - plural - of Jeopardy!, with Richards as the full-time host and Bialik hosting primetime and spinoff series. pic.twitter.com/usZU6xZA7k— Claire McNear (@clairemcnear) August 11, 2021
She has previously hosted the show for two weeks along with celebrity journalists George Stephanopoulos and Katie Couric, as well as Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings. Bialik has played many iconic characters onscreen, including the titular character on the early ’90s show Blossom and neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS's hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Not many know that Bialik received her Ph.D in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2007.
Following Sony's announcement of its two permanent hosts, Bialik expressed her excitement via a tweet that read, "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." As for Richards, he praised Trebek- who died at 80 from pancreatic cancer- in Sony's statement and counted himself fortunate to have witnessed Trebek's kindness.
Mike Richards was named the official new host on Wednesday, as expected, but Sony Pictures Television also announced a surprise: Mayim Bialik will be the host of occasional prime-time episodes of the beloved game show. https://t.co/kMQ3ad63x0— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2021
"Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show," he said. "I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love." The latest and 38th season of the trivia game show is set to debut on September 13.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Frederick M. Brown