"Jeopardy!" names two new hosts to replace the late Alex Trebek
Longtime "Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards and popular actor Mayim Bialik have been named co-hosts of "Jeopardy!," according to a statement from Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produces the show.
Why it matters: The decision was made to split the hosting roles in order to broaden the "Jeopardy!" franchise following the passing of Alex Trebek, who hosted the iconic program for 37 seasons.
- Leading up to Wednesday's announcement, Sony had experimented with a rotating cast of about a dozen guest hosts over the past few months, including Richards and Bialik, as well as Savannah Guthrie, Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, Anderson Cooper, Aaron Rodgers and Katie Couric.
Details: Richards will serve as the full-time host of the long-running daily syndicated program, while Bialik, who is best known for roles in "Big Bang Theory" and "Blossom," will serve as host of the program's prime-time and spinoff series.
- Those new series include the upcoming all-new "Jeopardy! National College Championship" set to air on ABC next year.
- Ken Jennings, the show's highest-earning winner, will return as consulting producer for the show.
Between the lines: It has been rumored for weeks that Richards would be named host, but reports about lawsuits against him while he was overseeing "The Price Is Right" recently resurfaced, making it less clear whether he would be selected.
- "We took this decision incredibly seriously," said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures. Ahuja added that a "tremendous amount of work and deliberation" went into the decision.
- "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," he said.
- Sony has long produced "Jeopardy!" as well as "Wheel of Fortune," two of the most popular game show programs in America. Richards will continue to serve as executive producer of both shows.
Be smart: Show producers rarely transition to roles in front of the camera, but data shows that Richards' guest-hosting tryouts pulled in sizable ratings.
- He brought in a higher average viewership for his tryout episodes than any "Jeopardy!" guest host, other than Jennings, according to an analysis by LG Ads.
What they're saying: "Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude," Richards said.
- "After all the conversations we've had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!" Bialik said.
What's next: Season 38 will begin production in mid-August, with episodes featuring the new hosts launching on Sept. 13.