Executive Producer of “Jeopardy!” in “Advanced Negotiations” to Become Permanent Host

Mike Richards is the front runner, but the people demand LeVar Burton

Mike Richards, executive producer of "Jeopardy!", on the set of the game show. He's in advanced negotiations to become the permanent host.
There's a good chance this could be the next host of "Jeopardy!"
Sony Pictures Television

Since Alex Trebek passed away last year after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Jeopardy! has relied on a series of guest hosts — including LeVar Burton, after a high-profile fan campaign to get him in the mix — to fill in while producers search for a permanent replacement. But it turns out they’re leaning towards bringing on one of their own for the position.

Variety reports that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is in “advanced negotiations” with Sony Pictures Television to become the game show’s permanent host. Richards just joined the show as executive producer last year, but as the publication notes, he “impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner.”

It’s important to point out that nothing’s been confirmed yet, however. A spokesperson for Sony told Variety that discussions are “ongoing with several candidates” and declined to comment specifically on Richards’s possible future, but the publication cites “a source close to the situation” and reports that “there’s no certainty that the sides will close a deal and that other candidates remain in the mix, although Richards is clearly the front-runner.”

Richards is a questionable choice for a number of reasons. He was fine in his guest-host stint, and he obviously knows the inner workings of the show, but he lacks the star power of Burton or even other guest hosts like Aaron Rodgers or Ken Jennings. But even more concerning is the fact that he was named in a gender discrimination lawsuit by a former Price Is Right model in 2010.

Model Brandi Cochran was awarded $7,763,440 in damages after she claimed she was discriminated against by producers on the show — including Richards — after she became pregnant. Cochran claimed that Richards didn’t talk to her as frequently after learning that she was pregnant and implied to her that she would have been fired for getting pregnant if she hadn’t kept it a secret.

Given the amount of strong candidates who haven’t been accused of discriminating against a pregnant woman at work, Richards seems like an odd choice. Nothing’s set in stone, so there’s still time for Sony to do the right thing and pick someone else.

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