Mike Richards, an executive producer on Jeopardy!, looks set to become the next permanent host of the US quiz show.
Alex Trebek hosted the show for 36 years before his death in November 2020, with a series of guest hosts acting as a temporary replacement in the months since.
According to Variety, Richards, who joined the show last year as an executive producer, is in “advanced negotiations” to become the next permanent host following his guest stint.
While discussions are still ongoing, it’s claimed that Richards is “clearly the frontrunner” and “impressed Sony Pictures brass with his command of the fast-paced game and easy on-air manner”.
Richards has a long history in TV, hosting shows like Divided and The Pyramid, along with reality shows High School Reunion and Beauty and the Geek. He came into Sony as an executive producer of the celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Since Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer aged 80, guest hosts on Jeopardy! have included Anderson Cooper, Mayim Bialik, Bill Whitaker, Ken Jennings and LeVar Burton.
The latter became a fan favourite to take the reins, with a petition earlier this year earning over 230,000 signatures, and the approval of Dick Van Dyke, to have Burton as the permanent host.
Speaking about the petition to IndieWire in April, Burton said: “It confirms for me what I, myself, believe in that I think I’m the best person for the job.
“I can’t think of anybody, and I’ve tried, [that] I’d be okay with having the job beside myself. It just makes sense to me. It just fits right into the other things I am known for in my career.”