- Despite being fired from his role as both permanent host (ever so briefly) and executive producer of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards will still be seen as the host of the iconic game show for the week of 9/13-9/17.
- The reasoning behind this awkward happening is solely due to timing.
- Richards’ single week of hosting will be followed by a second Mayim Bialik guest-hosting stint.
Well, this is awkward. Despite being very publicly fired from both his ever-so-brief stint as new permanent host of Jeopardy!, and his longer-serving role as the show’s executive producer, Mike Richards will still be the host of the first week of shows airing in the iconic trivia show’s 38th season. As awkward as that is, it was the only way; Season 38 began filming on August 19th, and Richards resigned as the show’s host on August 20th.
So despite only technically being on the job for the first day of filming, Richards still was at the helm for a full week of shows (Jeopardy! tapes five episodes per day). And while it will certainly be awkward to see the host—who was outed after Claire McNear of The Ringer authored a piece exposing his problematic behavior and past, including numerous comments on an old podcast—it’s not the kind of thing that Jeopardy! could just get a do-over on. Current champion Matt Amodio, a holdover from Season 37, is on an 18-game winning streak—one that’s made him the third highest-earner in winnings in the show’s history, behind only Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer. Fans of the show are eager to see how long Amodio’s streak will continue, and Richards hosted the first five games that could potentially see that streak continue or conclude.
McNear explained the awkwardness of it well in a late-summer Twitter thread, including the added-wrinkle that Mayim Bialik (who was named the Jeopardy! host for primetime specials alongside Richards’ role as the syndicated host) would be the guest host for three weeks following Richards’ removal. “Retaping isn’t an option – the games happened the way they happened, and the show taped another three weeks of episodes with Mayim Bialik hosting last week,” McNear wrote. “Even a partial retape of just the host portion isn’t particularly tenable – how do you reconfigure the Q&A segments?“
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It will be awkward to see how it’s aired, and perhaps even more awkward to see how it’s edited. You know that when Richards gave a whole speech on his first show of filming about how honored and grateful he was to be taking over for Alex Trebek as the permanent host of Jeopardy!. I’d venture to guess that part will be edited out, but it’ll still be quite interesting to see.
Perhaps the most strange, and unfortunate part, though, is for many of the Jeopardy! contestants who get sort of lost in this scuffle. “They played 5 games, which for many contestants is something they’ve dreamed of since childhood,” McNear wrote in her Twitter thread. “The next day, Richards stepped down as host. It’s a strange place.”
Hopefully these contestants get their moment, and it’s not made too awkward to watch on our TV screens. One way or another, we’re eager to see how it all plays out.
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