Ever since the world lost national treasure Alex Trebek to pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020, Jeopardy! has been testing the waters with an impressive slate of guest hosts. As USA Today noted in February 2021, “Greatest of All Time” Ken Jennings has wrapped after six weeks on the job, with a surprising newbie, Mike Richards, stepping up to the plate for two weeks. But wait, (for 400), who is Mike Richards, and why does he have the internet doing (daily) double takes?
According to Yahoo! Entertainment, Mike Richards is the executive producer of Jeopardy! and was not originally up next to host. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lineup of celebrity hosts (which includes Dr. Oz and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers) was pushed back. According to USA Today, after Richards, Katie Couric will host on March 8, 2021. “I’m hosting… for the next two weeks to keep the greatest quiz show in the world going,” Mike Richards said on-air, per Yahoo! Entertainment. “…With the COVID outbreak here in L.A., folks were understandably a little reticent to shoot. So as the producer, my job is to quite literally live the mantra, ‘the show must go on.’ So let’s do what Alex did 8,244 times.” On his second night, he thanked staff and crew.
Mike Richards may not be a familiar face to Jeopardy! heads, but since subbing in, some people want the show to continue with him! Scroll down to find out more about Mike Richards.
The internet is loving Mike Richards
So what else should you know about Jeopardy! guest host Mike Richards, who stepped in on Feb. 22, 2021? According to USA Today, the 45-year-old “joined the show last summer” as executive producer and has previously hosted The Pyramid and Beauty and the Geek. He also won multiple Daytime Emmys as the producer of The Price Is Right.
So, he has the experience, but it’s more the looks and the poise that has the internet smitten. “I think @Jeopardy can stop looking for Alex Trebek’s replacement because their executive producer / temporary host – Mike Richards – is a FOX!!!” one Twitter user wrote. “Can Mike Richards host @Jeopardy forever, please?” wrote another.
“I didn’t know I was going to be doing it [hosting] until three days before,” Mike Richards told USA Today on Feb. 22, 2021. “So there was just a lot to unpack. Plus, I also only owned one suit. … It was very fun; humbling doesn’t begin to describe the feeling. …At every commercial break, as I stepped back, I would think of Alex [Trebek].” The apple of the internet’s eye, Mike Richards, added, “Ken [Jennings] did an amazing job… He did better than I thought, and my expectations were incredibly high.” Richards acknowledged that “yes,” Jennings will be considered as a permanent Jeopardy! replacement. But now, there’s another top contender.
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