Mike Richards, Mayim Bialik to split hosting duties on Jeopardy!
Richards kicks off as the host of Season 38, while Bialik will host spinoffs
Mike Richards will replace beloved longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek this fall.
Sony Pictures Television announced Wednesday that Richards — who is the show's executive producer — and The Big Bang Theory actor Mayim Bialik will be the new hosts of Jeopardy! and its spinoffs.
Richards will be the permanent host of the syndicated game show starting in Season 38 in September, which begins production in mid-August.
Bialik will host Jeopardy!'s prime-time and spinoff series, including the new Jeopardy! National College Championship, scheduled to air next year.
Fan favourite and record-setting champion Ken Jennings will also join the show as a consulting producer.
"We knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices," said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures in a statement.
"Mike is a unique talent, at ease behind the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the Jeopardy! brand."
Richards joined the show last year as its executive producer and previously hosted High School Reunion and Beauty and the Geek. He was also the executive producer of game shows like Let's Make a Deal and The Price Is Right.
Rotation of temporary hosts
Richards, Jennings and Bialik were some of many temporary hosts who stepped into the role this past season after Trebek's death from pancreatic cancer in November. Other guest hosts included journalist Katie Couric, NFL player Aaron Rodgers and actor LeVar Burton.
"Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude," Richards said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Bialik shared her excitement on her personal Twitter page.
YAY!!! 🥳🥳 <a href="https://twitter.com/Jeopardy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Jeopardy</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayimOnJeopardy?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MayimOnJeopardy</a> <a href="https://t.co/dO6T7IIpgT">pic.twitter.com/dO6T7IIpgT</a>—@missmayim
Controversy of Richards hosting
Last week, Variety reported that Richards would potentially be named Jeopardy!'s permanent host, leaving some fans disappointed.
I have watched Jeopardy! every day for decades. The Mike Richards news is a bummer.—@SeanFennessey
The magazine had also reported that Richards was named in multiple lawsuits filed during his 10-year career as executive producer of The Price Is Right.
In an internal note sent to Jeopardy! staff on Monday, Richards addressed the allegations. "I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price Is Right," he wrote.
A July online poll by OnePoll that surveyed 1,003 Americans about their opinions on recent guest hosts put Jennings as the favourite to succeed Trebek, followed by Richards and Burton.