Jeopardy! to ‘split’ hosting duties between Mike Richards AND The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik… as they take over from late Alex Trebek
- In a surprise twist, actress Mayim Bialik will host ‘new versions’ of the iconic show for primetime
- As expected, executive producer Mike Richards will take over as the main host on daytime duties
- Longtime host Alex Trebek – who died after battling cancer in November last year – was at the helm of the iconic show for 36 years
After months of speculation, Jeopardy! has officially announced two new hosts that will take over from the late Alex Trebek.
Executive producer Mike Richards, as expected, will be the main host of the iconic daytime quiz show.
However, in a surprise twist, Sony Pictures Television have also announced that The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik will be a second host in charge of new spin-off versions set for primetime.
Finding the answer: Jeopardy! has announced Mike Richards (right) and The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik (left) as new hosts of the iconic quiz show
‘We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of America’s Favorite Quiz Show with Mike hosting our daily show and Mayim hosting new versions of Jeopardy!,’ said Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures in a statement, via TVLive.
‘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.’
The statement added that 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.’
Iconic: Longtime host Alex Trebek – who died after battling cancer in November last year – was at the helm of the quiz show for 36 years
Longtime host Alex Trebek – who died after battling cancer in November last year – was at the helm of the iconic show for 36 years, and there has been a series of guest hosts since his departure.
‘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,’ Ahuja added in the statement.
‘They were both at the top of our research and analysis. 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.’
Controversy: Mike Richards addressed recently resurfaced sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits from his time at The Price Is Right in a memo obtained by THR
Earlier this week, Richards reportedly addressed recently resurfaced sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits from his time producing The Price is Right in a memo to Jeopardy staff.
According to the memo, which was obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Richards claimed that the way his actions were described in the old lawsuits ‘does not reflect the reality of who I am’.
The 46-year-old, who has been the frontrunner to permanently replace Trebek for the past month, added that he’s ‘humbled’ by the opportunity but stressed that the final decision is not his.
‘I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price is Right ten years ago,’ Mike said. ‘These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show.’
Shortly after news broke that Richards was well positioned to succeed Trebek, his involvement in two harassment lawsuits -brought by two former models at The Price is Right while he was a producer there – resurfaced.
‘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,’ Richards said.
One of the models, Brandi Cochran, sued FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions in 2010 over claims producers sidelined and harassed her after she became pregnant.
Options: Many assumed former contestant Ken Jennings, 47, (pictured) would be take the helm, since he had been promoted to a consulting producer for the series
Richards was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but Cochran alleged in it that he stopped talking to her as much after she became pregnant and implied that she would have been fired had the pregnancy not been a secret.
‘I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent,’ Richards continued in his statement apparent reference to Brandi’s complaints.
‘It is the most important thing in the world to me,’ Mike added. ‘I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.’
Mike went on to say that during his time on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal the shows ’embraced’ the seven babies born to female cast members.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Richards said in a statement about his confirmed gig: ‘I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude.’
‘I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode. 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. I am thrilled that Mayim is joining the Jeopardy! team. Her academic track record and enthusiasm for the game made her a terrific guest host. It will be a privilege to produce the primetime series with her as host.’
Bialik said in her own statement that she ‘couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family’ and added: ‘What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor 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!’
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