‘Jeopardy!’ Fans React to Latest Twist: ‘Who Is Mike Richards?’
The man in charge of the engineering of a “Jeopardy!” successful succession may have found the ideal candidate: himself.
At least, that’s what Variety magazine reports, based on anonymous sources: Mike Richards, the quiz show’s executive producer, is said to be in advanced negotiations to become the permanent host.
Many fans reacted to the report with surprise and disappointment. And, just like on the show, a lot of their answers came in the form of a question. “Enough about the brand everyone will say” Who is Mike Richards? “” Nick Ross, an artist and humor writer, tweeted.
Some even joked that Mr. Richards shot a Dick Cheney, a reference to how Mr. Cheney, charged with checking out George W. Bush’s possible running mates in 2000, got the job himself.
The “Jeopard! The selection took longer than that long episode in national politics. The show’s beloved 37-year-old host Alex Trebek died in November of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.
For eight months, Mr. Richards and the game show staff tested a series of guest hosts, with top contenders including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers; the old “Jeopardy! Champion Ken Jennings, who has won 74 straight games; actress and author Mayim Bialik; and actor LeVar Burton, who has a legion of supporters online for him.
The New York Times was unable to confirm the Variety report. Mr. Richards declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produces the show, simply said discussions with potential hosts are underway.
She added that the months-long process of choosing a host was a “data-driven process” that took into account the views of fans and discussion groups.
As speculation mounted in recent months over who would replace Mr. Trebek, perhaps Mr. Richards knew something the rest of the world didn’t. In a January interview with The Times, he said there would be “pressure and stress” on whoever is chosen. “Replacing a legend is going to be nerve-racking,” he said. “If you’re not nervous, then you’re not paying attention.”
Despite all the sarcasm online, Mr. Richards is no stranger to a game show audience, including as “Jeopardy!” host.
The former host of the “Beauty and the Geek” reality show, he has seen a mix of on-camera and off-camera work in his television career. When Bob Barker left “The Price Is Right” after 35 years, Mr. Richards tried the job but was unsuccessful.
He previously told The Times that the key to new hosts’ success is finding people who can leverage their own strengths rather than emulate their predecessors.
He said it took the audience some time to adjust to ‘Jeopardy!’ without Mr. Trebek as a host – and that he also needed time.
“Emotionally,” he said, “I’m not ready for this. “
Over the past few months, Mr. Richards had tested the public’s reaction to various guest hosts, including Mr. Burton, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper and veteran TV reporter Katie Couric.
Some fans were clearly hoping that this would be the time to add more diversity to the world of TV quizzes.
One of those fans was Mr. Burton. Thursday he thanked his supporters on Twitter.
“I have said a number of times over the past few weeks that no matter what the outcome, I won,” he said. “The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and fans has been amazing!”
In an interview with The New York Times Magazine this year, he said he really wanted the job and had watched the show more or less every night for decades.
“I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “‘Danger!’ is a cultural touchstone, and for a black man occupying this podium is important. ”
Julia jacobs contributed reports.
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