‘Jeopardy’: Alex Trebek’s Successor Mike Richards Is a Mistake and Not Just Because of Controversial Allegations

Jeopardy! is one of America’s longest-running game shows, a series that has been around for decades. For many, the iconic music is the soundtrack to their childhood, and even after so many years on the air, Jeopardy! continues to delight and entertain. With the recent death of longtime host Alex Trebek, viewers have been anxiously waiting for the announcement of a permanent host to take over Trebek’s slot. Recently, after a parade of various guest hosts, a permanent host, and a special occasions host was announced — and many fans are less than thrilled about the choices. 

Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik are set to be the new hosts of ‘Jeopardy!’

For 37 seasons, Trebek was the face of Jeopardy!, his easy charm and dignified manner providing the perfect foil for guests’ exciting antics. After a lengthy battle with cancer, however, Trebek died in November 2020. Almost immediately, showrunners started scrambling to find someone to fill Trebek’s iconic shoes. It’s been nearly a year, but the network has finally announced a set of two permanent replacements for Trebek.

For the first time in the history of the show, Jeopardy! will welcome two co-hosts: Richards, who also happens to be the executive producer of Jeopardy! and Bialik, who is best known for appearing in TV shows like The Big Bang Theory. Richards will be the most visible host, assuming regular quiz show duties, while Bialik will take over the game show’s primetime and spinoff series. While both Richards and Bialik released statements, discussing how excited they both are to get to work, many fans of Jeopardy! are not so happy. 

Are ‘Jeopardy!’ showrunners missing an opportunity?

'Jeopardy!'s executive producer and new host Mike Richards
‘Jeopardy!’s executive producer and new host Mike Richards | Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images

For months, many fans have been debating the possibility of adding a person of color to Jeopardy!, noting that such an addition could prove to advance the show in interesting ways. The excitement that surrounded guest host LeVar Burton seemed to only prove that viewers were ready for this, with viewers of all ages responding well to Burton and his considerable charm.

The fact that showrunners opted for Richards, a “safe” choice, and Bialik, an established actor, to take over hosting duties, seems like a missed opportunity to include some diversity in the Jeopardy! ranks — and many fans agree, with a number of viewers slamming the selection of Richards, in particular. 

Bringing Bialik on board offers gender diversity, which is a great success. But the series could have amplified the presence of people of color and missed the mark.

Why are fans not excited about Mike Richards as the ‘Jeopardy!’ host?

In light of the news that Richards and Bialik were cast as new Jeopardy! co-hosts, many fans have taken to social media to slam showrunners’ decisions. “Not Jeopardy grabbing a token woman co-host to fight sexual harassment and workplace discrimination allegations,” one Twitter user detailed.

Another pointed out that Richards has sexual abuse allegations in his past, writing “Imagine trying out a bunch of hosts for almost a year and then …. picking a guy with harassment allegations.”

Many fans pointed out that Burton should have snagged at least one hosting spot, noting that they would no longer be watching the series with the new hosts attached. 

Even political pundit Keith Olbermann weighed in, taking to Twitter to write about Richards, “the damage this guy did to that show and its staff was described to me by somebody on it as the ‘worst cluster-f I’ve ever seen.’ It has the capacity to kill this franchise.”

Undecided fans will have the chance to decide for themselves when all-new episodes of Jeopardy! air in Fall 2021.

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