Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer was quick to roast Sony Pictures Television's decision to name Mike Richards the regular host of the iconic syndicated game show, while Mayim Bialik becomes host of the primetime specials and spinoffs. "Also new for next season: contestants can submit two Final Jeopardy responses in case the first one causes public backlash," tweeted Holzhauer. The decision to go with Richards for the main job, while giving Bialik a secondary role, looks bad after last week's backlash to Variety's report that the Jeopardy! executive producer was the frontrunner. "Ultimately, regardless of what went on behind the scenes, the optics of the decision look like: 'So the man with the inside track gets the main gig, but because people were mad, we’ll have a woman host some of the time,'" says Marina Fang. She adds: "It’s hard not to feel like the whole guest host process was just for show. Sure, it was fun to see a variety of hosting styles — some pretty good, some kind of rocky, some extremely questionable (uh, Dr. Oz) — and the show raised a lot of money for the charities each guest host chose. But it’s all a huge disappointment and insult to fans, since the show made a big deal out of the guest host process, ginning up enthusiasm and assuring viewers that they were taking our responses and feedback into consideration. Richards wasn’t bad when he guest-hosted this winter (though, according to The Ringer’s Claire McNear, the circumstances behind his guest-host turn are a bit shady), but he didn’t appear to be a fan favorite." McNear, author of the book Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History and Insider's Guide to Jeopardy!, reported that Richards' description that he was a last-minute substitute host because of the pandemic may have been exaggerated. "Instead, a planned host had a minor conflict during one of the show’s upcoming tape days," said McNear. "Jeopardy! staff and crew told the host that they could work around it—only for Richards to step in and insist on hosting himself, according to the sources, one of whom described feeling surprised that Richards characterized his presence onstage as an emergency substitution."
TOPICS: Mike Richards, Jeopardy!, James Holzhauer, Mayim Bialik, Game Shows, Sony TV