‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host and Producer Mike Richards Gives Beautiful Shout Out to Alex Trebek

Executive producer Mike Richards of Jeopardy! is in the midst of his guest hosting gig on the game show. Taking the baton from Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings after his six-week run at the lectern, Richards will be manning the quiz board through March 5.

Richards kicked off his second Jeopardy! episode with a tribute to the late game show icon, Alex Trebek.

'Jeopardy!' Producer Mike Richards speaks onstage at the 43rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel
‘Jeopardy!’ Executive producer and guest host Mike Richards | Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

Mike Richards pays homage to ‘Jeopardy’ king Alex Trebek

Richards opened the second episode of his guest-hosting stint thanking the staff of Jeopardy!, all who are still grieving the death of Trebek in November 2020. Calling the iconic trivia master a “hero”, Richards shared some personal thoughts on his late colleague and friend.

“Working with Alex was even better than you could have imagined,” Richards said on the air. “His intensity for the show, his humor, his kindness, but most impressively, his love for his wife Jean and his kids. He was everything you could hope for and more.”

Wishing the contestants luck, Richards concluded by dedicating the show to Trebek.

RELATED: ‘Jeopardy!’ Announcer Johnny Gilbert Talks About Life Without Alex Trebek: ‘Part of Me Left This World’

“He was an idol of mine, and I will work every day to try to live up to the example he set,” the Jeopardy! guest host shared. “So with that in mind, Sam, Aaron and Frances, good luck. This is for you, Alex.”

Mike Richards was a last-minute sub on ‘Jeopardy!’

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) still affecting travel, Richards was called upon to serve as guest host with only days to prepare.

“I didn’t know I was going to be doing it until three days before,” Richards explained to USA Today. “So I had not prepared myself to host in the way that I know other guest hosts are – so there was just a lot to unpack. Plus, I also only owned one suit, so there was a little bit of scrambling there.”

The executive producer felt the magnitude of taking a turn where Trebek stood for 36 years.

“Humbling doesn’t begin to describe the feeling,” Richards remarked. “It hit me like a ton of bricks when Johnny Gilbert announced my name. That’s of course the last thing you hear when you start to walk out. … and it was overwhelming in the moment.”

‘Jeopardy!’ has several guest hosts scheduled

While no one has been named as a permanent host, Richards revealed that some of the guest hosts are being considered for the role. He noted that there will be differing opinions from Jeopardy! fans.

Jeopardy! is about inclusion,” Richards explained. “It’s a respite from what’s happening in the outside world. As you watch guest hosts come through, you might like some, you might not like some others.”

Some upcoming guest hosts include Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Richards is counting on Jeopardy! viewers to share their honest opinion about each performance, while maintaining Trebek’s level of class and respect.

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“Let’s be that welcoming Jeopardy! community,” he said. “Let us know what you think, but let’s all be kind and open. Because in the end, that’s what Jeopardy! is and that’s what Alex was, and that’s the way we all should behave.”