Why is Mike Richards hosting ‘Jeopardy’? Didn’t he get fired?
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Viewers tuning in to Season 38 of “Jeopardy!” Sept. 13, 2021, might have been confused to see Mike Richards introduced as “the host of ‘Jeopardy!‘,” given his high profile ouster as both host and executive producer of the show earlier this year.
So, why is he still hosting the week of Sept. 13, 2021?
What happened is that Richards was named host and went on to participate in a single production day. “Jeopardy!,” like many game shows, tapes multiple shows a day, typically five.
The show was scheduled to tape two weeks of episodes Aug. 19 and 20, 2021.
However, Richards resigned as host Aug. 20, leading the show to cancel that day’s production.
Sony Pictures Television announced Richards as Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement Aug. 4, 2021.
The decision was widely met with disappointment by fans who felt Richards had essentially given himself the job, despite his denials it was not his decision on who would ultimately take over.
In addition, extensive reporting into Richards’ past revealed a string of alleged offensive remarks and actions.
All told, the pressure proved too much and Sony and Richards ultimately decided he would not be the new host and, on Aug. 31, 2021, announced he was departing as EP of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”
However, because game shows, and “Jeopardy!” in particular, rely on continuity, the show didn’t really have the option to scrap the five episodes it taped with Richards.
While episodes could, at least in theory, be re-taped with a different host or edited to remove Richards, that most likely wouldn’t float with standards and practices, which oversees the fairness of game shows and makes sure contestants are treated equally.
A “redo” would essentially be a bunch of people “acting out” something that already happened — assuming you could even get everyone to cooperate and answer every question exactly the same way.
Because of that, the whole idea of re-taping or editing the episodes with the same outcome is ludicrous.
The show also ended Season 37 with a cliffhanger in the form of champion Matt Amodio and viewers wouldn’t have been happy to not be able to find out what happened to his run at the start of Season 38.
It also wouldn’t be fair to simply scrap the five episodes and start over with Amodio back where he was at the end of Season 37.
Some game shows also have rules that episodes must actually air before contestants get any prizes they won.
It’s also worth noting that while editing the show to refer to Richards as “guest host” or some other title would conceivably be fairly easy, it’s also technically accurate to call him the “host” — since he was, in fact, the under contract as the host at the time the episodes were taped.
For similar reasons, Richards’ name will continue to appear on the credits of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” perhaps even past the date his last episode aired, depending on whether or not he performed any producer duties for those particular episodes (since “Wheel” sometimes tapes out of order, it’s also possible his name might pop up in the credits later in the season).
All that said, Richards’ will appear in his last episode Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. After that, the show scrambled to get Mayim Bialik, who it struck a deal with to host primetime specials of the show, on board to fill in for three weeks (likely three tape days).
She’ll now appear through Nov. 5, 2021, with her and former champ Ken Jennings taking turns at the host lectern through the end of 2021.