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Editor’s note: On August 18, The Ringer published a report by Claire McNear about Mike Richards, at the time the person Sony Pictures Television had selected to succeed Alex Trebek as the host of Jeopardy! McNear’s reporting uncovered questions about the process that led to his selection, as well as a podcast he once hosted that featured disparaging commentary by Richards directed at various groups. On August 20, Sony announced that Richards had stepped down as host, but would remain as executive producer. Read below for McNear’s original report.

“A Smile With Sharp Teeth”:
Mike Richards’s Rise to ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Sparks Questions About His Past

Jeopardy Productions/Ringer illustration

One day in the fall of 2013, Mike Richards called Ken Jennings.

At the time, Jennings was nearly a decade removed from the 74-game Jeopardy! winning streak that had made him a household name. Richards, meanwhile, was backstage at The Price Is Right, the show he had joined as a co–executive producer five years earlier, and where that May he had launched a podcast called The Randumb Show, which was promoted to listeners as a look behind the scenes at Price.

Before he called Jennings to record a segment on the podcast, Richards put a question to his cohost. “Are you good at trivia?” he asked.

“Some trivia,” she replied.

“See, what I am is horrible at all trivia,” Richards said. “It doesn’t even matter if it’s a specific area I should know. I don’t have that kind of mind.” Later in the episode, after Jennings joined, Richards went further: “If I had gotten on Jeopardy!—well, I never would have gotten on Jeopardy!, let’s be square,” he said.

Now, though, Richards has gotten on Jeopardy!, albeit on the other side of the stage. On August 11, parent studio Sony Pictures Television announced that the 46-year-old will become the show’s new permanent host, just 15 months after he was named its executive producer. Actress Mayim Bialik will host prime-time tournaments, but the nightly job belongs to Richards. He alone will fill the role long held by Alex Trebek.

[To read the rest of Claire McNear's reporting, CLICK HERE.]

“It’s not just a wholesome pop culture fixture; it’s a celebration of learning, an identity, a way of life.”
—Claire McNear
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