Jeopardy! has spent the past months since the death of longtime host Alex Trebek last fall featuring a variety of guest hosts like LeVar Burton, Savannah Guthrie, NFL star Aaron Rodgers, George Stephanopoulos, Katie Couric, and former champion Ken Jennings. Many viewers have assumed that the guest hosts were essentially auditioning for the role as Trebek’s permanent replacement. They were — but it turns out the new Jeopardy! host may actually come from the show’s existing staff.

Variety reports that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is in “advanced negotiations” to become the new host of Jeopardy! Richards did serve as one of the show’s guests hosts earlier this winter, and apparently “impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner.” A Sony spokesman would only say to Variety that “discussions were ongoing with several potential candidates” but one of the trade’s other sources described Richards as “clearly the front-runner.”

Richards does have extensive on air game show experience; he previously hosted series like Beauty and the Geek and The Pyramid. In recent years, he’s mostly moved behind the camera, becoming a producer on game shows like The Price Is Right and the new iteration of Let’s Make a Deal. He joined Jeopardy! as a producer in 2020.

Here’s an ABC news video on the warm reception his guest hosting stint received:

And here’s an interview with Richards on the importance of show:

Richards may be a surprising choice — and perhaps a disappointing one for some fans — but it looks like he’s got the job as the new host of Jeopardy! He certainly have some enormous shoes to fill.

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