‘Jeopardy!’s Mike Richards Swears He’s Not Involved in Choosing the Show’s Permanent Host

Fans of the classic quiz show Jeopardy! were ambushed recently with the news that the show’s executive producer Mike Richards was in deep negotiations to become its permanent host.

Now Richards has broken his silence regarding what he says is the actual process involved in naming the successor to late host Alex Trebek.

The late Alex Trebek, pictured here in Washington for his 'Jeopardy!' Power Players Week, 2012
The late Alex Trebek on the set of ‘Jeopardy!’, 2012 | Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Richards has been in negotiations to become the new host of ‘Jeopardy!’

Although the leak from sources at Sony Pictures Television stated that Richards was still in talks to become permanent host of the show, it’s clear his name is on a short stack of candidates. Many fans expressed their hope that one of the program’s guest hosts would be chosen to succeed Trebek, such as television personality LeVar Burton, or even the quiz show’s greatest contestant Ken Jennings. Instead, Variety reported, it’s Richards who is in strongest favor to be the chosen one, and overall, fans didn’t seem happy.

In an Instagram post on the show’s social media account, fans made their feelings known.

“No Mike Richards!!!” the Jeopardy! viewer wrote. “Why the heck did you even bother having other hosts appear if a decision had already been made?”

“We do not want Mike Richards,” another fan stated simply.

The showrunner insists he has no say in the pick for the show’s host

Responding to the furor surrounding the news he’s being considered for the hosting spot, Richards penned a letter to Jeopardy! staffers in which he finally broke his silence.

“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing,” he wrote in his communication, which Sony Pictures Television made public.

In the letter, he zeroed in on the point that many followers of the show seem to be stuck on: that Richards apparently appointed himself the show’s new host. Nothing could be less true, he wrote.

“I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been,” he said. “Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built.”

Invoking Trebek’s name again, he added, “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.”

Joe Buck closes out the guest host schedule

In the meantime, sportscaster Joe Buck gets down to business on the show, wrapping up the guest host rotation on Jeopardy! until Aug. 13.

Buck spoke in his interview with the quiz show on his respect for Trebek and now for the task the late host undertook each week, which seems simple but was anything but.

“I’ve been on television for almost 30 years,” Buck shared. “And I always was in awe of the job that Alex did hosting this show. I think the ease with which he guided contestants through questions, the smile, the warmth, the intellect that came through. And now that I’ve been inside the studio, I have an even greater appreciation for how meticulously awesome Alex Trebek was.”

Once Buck’s week of games on the classic game show is up, it’s expected we’ll officially learn at that time who the new face of Jeopardy! will be.

RELATED: CNBC’s David Faber Surprises ‘Jeopardy!’ Fans With His Guest-Hosting Talents: ‘His Presence Is a Lot Like Alex’