Jeopardy!: Stars and Fans React After Mike Richards Is Named New Permanent Host
Richards, 46, was announced as host on Wednesday, approximately nine months after the death of longtime host Alex Trebek. Since Trebek's death last November following a battle with cancer, the show has been helmed by a rotation of interim hosts.
Alongside Richards, Mayim Bialik will host Jeopardy! primetime and the newly-announced spinoff series Jeopardy! National College Championship, which will premiere on ABC next year. Bialik, 45, previously guest-hosted Jeopardy! between May 31 to June 11.
News regarding Richards' new role sparked mixed reactions across social media.
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak gave a "welcome" to Richards on Twitter, while director Ava DuVernay shared a GIF of Dan Levy on Schitt's Creek and wrote: "Me trying to create a show right in this moment for @levarburton to host and make an international hit."
As Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings simply retweeted an official statement on the news, Community alum Yvette Nicole Brown said she's "very happy" for Bialik but added that "the way the search was handled did @levarburton dirty."
Fans of the series had varied reactions to the news as well. While some viewers expressed their disappointment about the decision, others were supportive.
"This is… really confusing. But hey, new primetime #Jeopardy tournaments? Color me interested," one person tweeted as another user wrote, "Jeopardy made the right decision. Mike Richard's was the best."
Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, said that the decision for casting both Richards and Bialik was taken "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," Ahuja said in a statement. "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."
Ahuja added that they "knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices."
Days before Richards' casting was confirmed, he addressed the rumors of him hosting the show and the "complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price Is Right 10 years ago" in a letter to staff.
During his time at The Price Is Right, accusations of pregnancy discrimination surfaced in complaints filed by former models from the series. The lawsuits were filed against CBS and Freemantle Media, and Richards was not specifically named.
"These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show," Richards wrote. "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."