The predecessors to Alex Trebek have finally been revealed as Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik have been named as the new hosts of Jeopardy!.
Richards, an executive producer of the show, has been labelled the full-time host while Bialik — who had a stint as celebrity guest host this past year — will host Jeopardy!’s primetime and spinoff series, including the upcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship.
“We took this decision incredibly seriously. 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,” said Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures.
According to Ahuja, the decision process included Sony Pictures Television executives poring over footage from this past year, which saw more than 15 different personalities try their hand at hosting the popular quiz show, including Richards and Bialik.
“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. They were both at the top of our research and analysis,” said Ahuja.
“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. We are excited to get to work with them both and are confident that they will carry on the legacy of this iconic show.”
A series of guest hosts have each taken a turn at the Jeopardy! lectern this past season, including Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen and David Faber. As part of each host’s appearance, a donation was made to a charity of their choice, with the amount donated equaling the cumulative winnings of the contestants that competed during the weeks they served as guest hosts.
In total, Jeopardy! donated nearly $3 million to various charities this past season, according to Sony Pictures Television.
Richards’ guest-hosting appearances aired February 22, 2021 – March 5, 2021 and Bialik served as guest host from May 31, 2021 – June 11, 2021.
“Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. 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,” said Richards in a release on Wednesday.
Although Richards will be taking on the role of full-time host, he will continue to work as an executive producer as well.
Bialik, a neuroscientist who is known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler in The Big Bang Theory, says she is thrilled to be part of the show’s family.
“What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumour from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I’m so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I’m just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we’ve had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!”
Jeopardy! National College Championship — one of the spinoffs that will be hosted by Bialik — is an all-new tournament that will air in primetime on ABC next year. The competition will feature 15 colleges from across the country going head-to-head for two weeks of intense competition.
Outside of the realm of television, Bialik also is the host of the mental health podcast “Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown” and she recently wrote and directed her first feature film, As Sick As They Made Us, starring Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen.
Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time winner Ken Jennings will return as consulting producer for the show.
Jeopardy! says it will begin production on Season 38 in mid-August, with new episodes launching on September 13, 2021. Vancouver Islanders can watch weeknights at 7:30 p.m. on CHEK TV.
For more information, visit Jeopardy.com.