Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy for 36 years before he passed away at age 80 in November. Since then, a series of guest hosts have taken their turns filling in for Trebek, though many of them hoped it would become a permanent position. Well that seems to be the case for one of the guests, but it might not be who audiences expected.
According to Variety, Jeopardy's own executive producer, Mike Richards, is in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television for the role. A spokesperson for the production company said discussions are ongoing with a few candidates and wouldn't specifically comment on Richards, but a source confirmed that Richards is the clear frontrunner, though noted that it is not yet definite and others still remain in the mix.
Among the celebrities who might still be in the running are Aaron Rodgers, Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, LeVar Burton, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Oz, George Stephanopoulos, Savannah Guthrie, Bill Whitaker, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and former contestants Buzzy Cohen and Ken Jennings.
Many fans thought Jennings was a shoo-in, with his famous 74-game winning streak on the show in 2004. He is also Jeopardy's highest-grossing winner with $2.52 million in regular play winnings, so he is very familiar with the program. However, per insiders, executives were impressed with Richards' command of the game and "easy on-air manner."
Richards is no stranger to hosting. He performed the role on Sony Pictures' Game Show Network's Divided and The Pyramid, and earlier in his career, hosted the reality shows High School Reunion and Beauty and the Geek. He's also been executive producer for Let's Make A Deal, The Price Is Right, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and more. In fact, he's produced over 4,000 hours of game shows.
No word on when an official decision on the new host will be announced.