What Is Self-Dealing? A 'Jeopardy!' Producer May Become the Show's Permanent Host

·4-min read
What Is Self-Dealing? A 'Jeopardy!' Producer May Become the Show's Permanent Host

Someone who isn’t LeVar Burton has pulled ahead in the race to become Jeopardy!’s permanent host, and fans aren’t happy about it.

According to Variety, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television to become the long-running game show’s permanent host. A spokesman for the production company told the outlet that discussions remain ongoing with several candidates; meanwhile, an unnamed source close to the situation advised that, although several candidates remain in the mix, Richards is clearly the frontrunner. Earlier this year, Richards joined the revolving door of Jeopardy! guest hosts, saying of the late Alex Trebek, “He was everything you could hope for and more. He was an idol of mine, and I will work every day to try to live up to the example he set.”

Richards joined Jeopardy! as executive producer in 2020, following stints at several other game shows. Earlier in his career, he hosted Beauty and the Geek at the CW. He joined The Price is Right in 2008 as co-executive producer; in 2009, he sold the revival of Let’s Make a Deal to CBS, then became that show’s executive producer. Richards came to Sony as the executive producer of the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?. By the time Richards came to Jeopardy! in 2020, he had produced more than 4000 hours of game shows.

But, despite his lengthy resume, when the news broke, Jeopardy! Twitter was an avalanche of outrage. Some fans accused Richards of “pulling a Dick Cheney”—meaning, leading a hiring committee through an arduous recruitment process only to hire himself. Others pointed to a concerning skeleton in Richards’ closet: he was named in a 2012 lawsuit regarding his The Price is Right days, when a model for the show was awarded $7.5 million in damages after successfully suing producers for pregnancy discrimination. Some fans feel that the elevation of a white man stems from Sony’s refusal to see women and people of color as real contenders. Others just feel tricked: what was the point of this exciting, highly public guest host carousel if the show was always going to hire an insider from within?

Below, we rounded up reactions from a dark and stormy night on Twitter:

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