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What is 'hired'? Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik named as new 'Jeopardy!' hosts

The duo takes over for beloved host Alex Trebek, who died last year from pancreatic cancer.
/ Source: TODAY

“Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik have been named the new hosts of the popular game show. Richards will host the daily syndicated version, while Bialik will host prime-time and spinoff versions of the program.

Richards, 46, has big shoes to fill, as he replaces Alex Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for more than 8,000 episodes over 36 seasons before his death from pancreatic cancer in 2020.

48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards
Richards accepts the award for outstanding game show for "Jeopardy!" during the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on June 25, 2021.Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images

Richards is the program’s executive producer, a role he also serves for “Wheel of Fortune.” He’s also been the executive producer of “The Price Is Right” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and has worked as a producer on “The Weakest Link” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” Richards has also appeared in front of the camera, hosting “The Pyramid” and “Beauty and the Geek.”

On Monday, Richards had still not confirmed his hiring, but did say he was in the running for the high profile job.

“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show,” he wrote in a memo to “Jeopardy!” staff Monday. “I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing.

“I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.”

Mike Richards on the set of "Jeopardy" in blue suit.
Richards' hiring has some fans up in arms.Carol Kaelson / Jeopardy Productions

Richards and Bialik are two of the many people who worked as a guest host on “Jeopardy!” He stood at the lectern in episodes that aired over a two-week period in February, while Bialik, who credited her son for pursuing the opportunity to host, filled in at the end of May and into June.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family,” Bialik said in a statement. “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!”

They joined a roster of eclectic personalities that included TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, Aaron Rodgers, Ken Jennings, Buzzy Cohen and LeVar Burton.

After word got out that Richards was in talks to take over as “Jeopardy!” host, many fans on Twitter voiced their displeasure.

His hiring is further complicated by the fact he was named in discrimination lawsuits filed by models on “The Price Is Right.”

“I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at ‘The Price is Right’ ten years ago,” he wrote in the memo to “Jeopardy!” staff.

“These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. 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.’”