Washington [US], August 12 (ANI): After a long search to find a replacement for the late Alex Trebek, Sony Pictures Television recently announced Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik as new hosts for the American TV game show 'Jeopardy!'.
As per E! News, Richards will assume the position of full-time host of the show's daily syndicated program starting with season 38, and Bialik will host Jeopardy!'s primetime and spinoff series, including 'Jeopardy! National College Championship' set to air on ABC next year.
Richards will also continue to fulfil his current job as executive producer of both 'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune', and 'Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time' winner Ken Jennings will return as consulting producer for the popular quiz show.
Speaking about joining the show as the host, Richards said, "I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy! Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode."
He then took a moment to honour Trebek and added, "Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love."
Richards further expressed his enthusiasm for having Bialik sign-on and said, "Her academic track record and enthusiasm for the game made her a terrific guest host. It will be a privilege to produce the primetime series with her as host."
As for 'The Big Bang Theory' star, Bialik said she "couldn't be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family." She stated, "What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumour from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life!"
On the subject of working with Richards, she said, "I'm so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I'm just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we've had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!"
The show began a search for its new host after Trebek's death in November, who passed away due to pancreatic cancer at the age of 80.
Guests hosts like Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen and David Faber took turns taking on the gig, over the past season.
Richards hosted the show between the last week of February and the first week of March, and Bialik performed the duties at the end of May and early June.
Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, said, "We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show-deservedly so because it's Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek."
Talking about the selection process, he added, "A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers."
Ahuja also said that the team "knew early on" it wanted to "divide the hosting responsibilities," noting "it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices."
Appreciating the new hosts, he added, "They were both at the top of our research and analysis. Mike is a unique talent, at ease behind the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents Jeopardy! brand. We are excited to get to work with them both and are confident that they will carry on the legacy of this iconic show."
Earlier, as speculation over who the new host would be continued to spread, Richards' involvement in a discrimination lawsuit resurfaced. It was reported that a former 'Price Is Right' model received more than USD 7.7 million in punitive damages in 2012 after a jury determined she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Richards, who was an executive producer on 'The Price Is Right' for more than a decade, denied allegations of mistreatment during the trial.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, producing company FremantleMedia appealed the verdict. An appeals court then ruled there was sufficient evidence for a second trial, THR continued, and the case was later settled.
The claims were addressed by Richards in an email sent to Jeopardy! employees that were obtained by E! News.
He said, "These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show," adding that "during my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera. It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show." (ANI)