After months of speculation, guest hosts, excited dreams, and a general acknowledgment of the special place the series holds in the hearts of millions, Jeopardy! has apparently decided to solve its ongoing lack of a permanent host by just hiring the guy who already works there. Specifically, Variety reports that producers on the long-running game show are in “advanced negotiations” with fellow executive producer Mike Richards to take over as its permanent host. (For what it’s worth, Sony Pictures Television says it’s still in talks with “several potential candidates” for the job.)
Richards joined Jeopardy! as an executive producer last year, having come to the series as a long-time veteran of the game show world. His past credits as a producer include Let’s Make A Deal, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and a long stint with The Price Is Right—in which capacity he talked to us, a few years back, about the nitty gritty details of how the show fills out many of its big prize packages. But despite also having a decent slate of on-camera experience—having previously hosted Beauty And The Geek on Fox, and game shows The Pyramid and Divided on GSN—Richards is nevertheless almost certainly the least famous person out of all the folks who guest-hosted Jeopardy! over the last several months, including Ken Jennings, a man famous for being very good at Jeopardy!.
Admittedly, Richards handled his week at the podium competently enough, keeping the game’s flow going ably, and offering some moving tributes to his old co-worker (and now potential predecessor) Alex Trebek. But he’s also, to be frank, an extremely workmanlike and safe choice: In reviewing all of the Jeopardy! guest hosts, our own Alex McLevy described Richards as having the energy “of a decent-enough substitute teacher,” which is about as faint a chunk of praise as it’s possible to damn someone with. But, then, maybe that’s what Jeopardy! wants, after a year that’s saw it undergo unprecedented tumult: A safe, steady hand to read the clues and get the business of the show back on a more normal road.