Despite the popularity of other guest hosts, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards becomes the show’s full-time host.
By Donovan Martin Jr
After the unfortunate passing of Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! recognized that a replacement would be necessary. Under the guise of auditions, Jeopardy! had many guests host. For seven months, hosts ranging from TV personalities to scientists, news reporters to actors graced the screen. Yet it seems that regardless if a guest host was boring, bombastic, or braggadocious, their efforts were futile for the position of replacement host was given to a higher-up: executive producer Mike Richards.
To say Mike Richards is unqualified for the position would be an unfair statement. He has hosted game shows Divided and The Pyramid. The reason behind the uproar of him becoming full host comes from him never guest starring. Others held the position for a week or multiple weeks at a time. Ken Jennings, the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, hosted Jeopardy for 6 weeks. Furthermore, he was playing Jeopardy! in the studio since 2004. He understood the intricacies of the game.
Another fan favourite to be the host was LeVar Burton, an inter-generational treasure. With his role as Kunta Kinte in the show Roots in 1977, his role as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek from 1987 to 2002, and host of Reading Rainbow from 1983 to 2006, he in the position as full-time host seemed perfect. He hosted the show because fans thought he’d be such a great fit, endorsing him on Twitter. Recognizing that he might not be the full-time host in the early mentions of Richards as host, Burton tweeted this statement:
“I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure.”
It should be noted that Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actress in shows such as Blossom and the Big Bang Theory is to host Jeopardy! event episodes. This includes subsections of Jeopardy! like “Kids Day,” “Teen Day,” and “Athlete Day,” aptly named for who will be competing. Yet she did not receive the same overwhelming support that Jennings or Burton did. Rather than praise the competitors, many fans found it often that she’d praise herself. Furthermore, despite having a Ph.D. in neuroscience, anti-vaccination and anti-science rhetoric from her has resurfaced. Including being featured on a naturopathy podcast and endorsing a supplement that ‘increases brain function’ (yet this claim was deemed to be wildly inaccurate).
It seems that Jeopardy! handled their situation in the worst way possible. Rather than go for the fan favourites or some semblance of audience participation, they chose an executive who did not audition and a narcissistic scientist with not-so-scientific principles. It is unlikely that the next Jeopardy season will be devoid of complaints.