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‘Jeopardy!’ producer Richards named host position for Bialik

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After weeks of visitor hosts on “Jeopardy!” that included celebrities from Tv set, sports activities and journalism, the each day syndicated quiz show selected its government producer, Mike Richards, as the successor to beloved host Alex Trebek.

But right after admirer backlash to a selection process that a short while ago turned messy, producer Sony split the pie by naming an additional visitor host, actor Mayim Bialik, as emcee for “Jeopardy!” primary-time and spinoff series, like a new college or university championship.

In a nod to “Jeopardy!” devotees, longest winning-streak champion Ken Jennings will return as a consulting producer.

Richards will keep executive creating duties for “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” Sony Pictures Tv claimed in a assertion Wednesday. The studio also appeared to deflect the thought that it was bowing to the dismay that some followers expressed when word leaked very last week that Richards would be the select.

“We realized early on that we required to divide the web hosting tasks and it turned really apparent that Mike and Mayim have been the simple choices. They have been each at the major of our analysis and investigation,” reported Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of World wide Television Studios for Sony Pictures. “We took this decision very very seriously.”

As a guest host, Ahuja explained Richards was “at relieve powering the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has a wonderful electricity, an innate perception of the match, and an genuine curiosity that in a natural way signifies the ‘Jeopardy!’ model.”

Richards was the second of the temp hosts who loaded the void still left by Trebek’s dying, with “Jeopardy!” champs Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, actors Bialik and LeVar Burton, NFL player Aaron Rodgers and Television set journalists amid the others.

The studio didn’t split the match-demonstrate mildew by selecting Richards. White male hosts have extensive been the convention, with a handful of females (among them Meredith Vieira, Jane Lynch, Leslie Jones) and a larger contingent of Black adult men (Wayne Brady, Steve Harvey, Anthony Anderson) building inroads in recent several years.

When Richards proved an exceptional host, a “fantastic opportunity for radical adjust has been misplaced,” mentioned Deepak Sarma, a Scenario Western Reserve University professor and Netflix cultural advisor. For the marginalized, Sony’s determination confirms suspicions that “penetrating some privileged worlds is unattainable,” Sarma reported.

Richards has an comprehensive, Emmy Award-profitable match present resume. He was the govt producer of “The Value is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” for additional than a decade and generated the 2020 revival of “Who Needs to Be a Millionaire.” His on-digicam expertise features internet hosting “The Pyramid” and “Beauty and the Geek,” a actuality exhibit.

He joined “Jeopardy!” as the substitute for retiring govt producer Harry Friedman starting off with the 2020-21 time, and was in the job for only a handful of months when Trebek, 80, died last November of pancreatic cancer. Trebek was host for 37 seasons.

“No make any difference who they picked some of the viewers ended up going to be disappointed, simply because it was not Alex Trebek,” stated media advisor Monthly bill Carroll.

Jennings, who holds the history for most frequent-activity winnings with $2.52 million and the longest successful-streak, 74 online games, experienced been considered a frontrunner, together with Cohen and Bialik (“The Huge Bang Theory”). Burton had his have chorus of supporters, such as the petitioners whom he credits with getting him on the show last thirty day period.

Sony experienced been managing the changeover gracefully: The demonstrate frequently saluted Trebek’s legacy, created charitable donations in his memory and framed the succession of guest hosts as a probability for viewers to adapt to alter and, just it’s possible, have a hand in the decision.

In interviews, Richards portrayed himself as a relative bystander in the approach, a person who had stepped in as guest host only when required.

When Assortment reported past 7 days that he was shut to signing a deal, followers and observers questioned regardless of whether the supposed audition and choice method was a stunt, with the conclusion foregone. They also expressed question that Richards was right for the career.

There ended up other candidates with the gravitas and resume that “Jeopardy!” and its viewers have earned, stated Andy Saunders, a longtime viewer and administrator for The Jeopardy! Supporter site.

Richards will have to earn the respect already accorded to some others who tried out out, Saunders claimed. He’ll nonetheless observe the demonstrate as the site’s operator, but said, “I would surely not begrudge any other viewer who would decide on to tune out.”

Filling the host’s job was never ever simple. Passion for the Canadian-born Trebek manufactured finding a replacement equally a gesture of regard for him as perfectly as a small business choice. Viewership shifted underneath the visitor hosts, but “Jeopardy!” continues to be amid the leading-rated syndicated systems.

When Richards spoke to The Associated Push in Might, he requested that viewers give the new host a fair shot.

“My hope is that whoever is picked will be given a probability to show why they have been picked, with out too considerably static,” he stated. “Ultimately, we are hoping to put out the best item for our enthusiasts.”

“Jeopardy!” returns for its 38th year on Sept. 13, with taping set to start this thirty day period.

In a statement Wednesday, Richards mentioned he was honored to be picked out for the occupation and promised to adhere to Trebek’s perception that “the game alone and the contestants are the most vital areas of the display.”

If Richards holds to that approach and “doesn’t get in the way of the aim of the demonstrate,” advisor Carroll reported, viewership is probably to continue to be sturdy.

Bialik, who played a scientist on “The Massive Bang Theory” sitcom and is a person in serious daily life, was amongst the supporter favorites to realize success Trebek.

“What started off out with my 15-calendar year-previous repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should really guest host the clearly show has turned into 1 of the most remarkable and surreal prospects of my everyday living!” she said in a assertion.

She’ll be host of “Jeopardy! Nationwide College or university Championship,” which Sony introduced Wednesday. The primary-time ABC display will element 15 faculties from across the place competing over two months.

By LYNN ELBER AP Television Author