Fans of Jeopardy! don’t have long to wait now for the popular game show to name the permanent successor to longtime host Alex Trebek. Executive producer Mike Richards recently revealed a general timeline as to when we can expect the big announcement.
During Richards’ appearance on The Wall Street Journal’s podcast “The Journal,” the showrunner opened up about the ongoing search for a new host. It turns out that Season 38 of the game show will play a huge part in the selection process.
Richards, who also served as the second interim host on Jeopardy!, admitted that the game show will choose its next full-time host in time for the new season. Season 38 will air in late July or early August, therefore fans should know who is replacing Trebek sometime this summer. Yet for now, there are no decisions on who will take over the podium for good.
“It’s going to come down to the heads of Sony [Entertainment] to make that decision, ultimately. And it’ll come down to testing,” Richards explained on “The Journal.” “They’ve been a part of it. They know what’s going on in the studio. They’re watching the feed, the tapings. It’s very extensive. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of, as far as testing in its size and scope.”
“You want to make an informed decision,” he added. “In the end, we’re a pretty cerebral group, the Jeopardy! team. We want to go at this with real analytics and real testing and not just go, ‘Hey, how about this guy?’ which is kind of how a lot of these decisions have been made historically.”
‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Says Hosting Gig Not a ‘Side Hustle’
The search continues for Alex Trebek’s successor as more guest hosts take the reins of the game show. But some Jeopardy! fans may not realize that they’re witnessing the audition process firsthand.
After Trebek passed away in November, the show has utilized a rotating cast of guest hosts ever since. Since January, various celebrity hosts have taken over hosting duties. The list includes former Jeopardy! champions (Ken Jennings), broadcasters and anchors (Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper), and even a sports star (quarterback Aaron Rodgers). Although not every celebrity host is looking for a new job, some have made their interest well-known.
In fact, Richards shared that he’d be surprised if they selected anyone who hasn’t served as guest host. Additionally, he said he “wouldn’t rule anything out.” So there may be some last-minute surprise entries looking to take Trebek’s position on Jeopardy!.
One thing is clear though according to Richards. He and the rest of the decision makers see the hosting gig as someone’s only job. This won’t be a second job, or part-time career for whoever gets the nod for the Jeopardy! podium.
“I feel like it worked out pretty well for Alex as one job,” Richard said. “It’s not a side hustle to me, and we’ve been clear about that.”
For a game show that averages “70 million-plus” viewers as Richards says, they’re making sure to do their due diligence during such a vital hiring process. The late iconic Alex Trebek is nearly impossible to replace, but hopefully, with a meticulous vetting process, the game show will find the right man or woman for the job soon.