Who is: the likely next Jeopardy! host? After a lengthy process, it appears that fans have their answer.
A source connected to the venerable game show confirms to E! News that Mike Richards, who joined Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune as executive producer last year, is in the process of ironing out his deal to succeed the late Alex Trebek as permanent host of the trivia series.
The insider tells E! News that the job has been Mike's to lose from the start, and that no other candidate was offered the role. Mike will fill the big shoes of Alex, who hosted Jeopardy! for 36 years and passed away in November 2020 following his battle with pancreatic cancer.
"Mike wanted this job since he joined Jeopardy!," the source shares. "He has been meeting with the key players at the production company and expressed his desire to expand his role, becoming both the showrunner and host."
The insider continues, "Mike has been open throughout his career that he views himself as a Dick Clark or Ryan Seacrest type of figure who is capable of both running and hosting a show."
Since January 2021, Jeopardy! has seen a rotating roster of guest hosts, including Mike, Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Mayim Bialik and LeVar Burton, with fans having taken to social media to stump for their favorites. Ultimately, producers didn't end up seeing any of the other guests as legitimate candidates, according to the source.
"The guest-hosting concept was a great concept and gave the audience the chance to see others hosting, but the show never engaged in serious conversations with any of the guest hosts, despite numerous lobbying efforts," the insider says.
A different source with knowledge of the dealings tells E! News that discussions with potential hosts are still ongoing.
E! News has reached out to Jeopardy! representatives for comment. Variety was first to report that Mike is in negotiations to host.
Prior to joining Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in fall of 2020, Mike, 46, was previously an executive producer on The Price Is Right, Let's Make a Deal and the recent celebrity specials of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Additionally, he previously served as host of The CW's Beauty and the Geek, along with GSN's Divided and The Pyramid. He had also been a candidate to replace the late Bob Barker as host of The Price Is Right before Drew Carey scored the gig.
Last month, a source told E! News that Mike was a strong contender for the Jeopardy! role. "He has been watching Trebek for years and knows what works well," the source shared at that time.
-Reporting by Spencer Lubitz