When fans said “Jeopardy!” would never be the same without Alex Trebek, this isn’t what they had in mind.
Newly appointed “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards’ resignation today has left the show in an uncomfortable limbo — and with some tough-to-answer questions.
Richards, 46, opted to step down after bringing “unwanted negative attention” to the show after sexist comments he made on a 2013 podcast surfaced, according to Richards’ resignation memo which The Post obtained.
As of now, “Jeopardy!” intends to air Richards’ already taped episodes, according to the Wrap, and he will stay on as an executive producer, as The Post previously reported.
A Sony Pictures Television memo also detailed future plans for “Jeopardy!” as the game show “will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host.”
“In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week,” the memo read.
Now, we have our own questions for “Jeopardy!” and its future seasons.
Does LeVar Burton get a better chance?
The outcry of many peeved fans was validated when a recent poll proved Burton, who guest hosted on July 26, to be the preferred host of viewers.
The 64-year-old “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor received 14% of the survey’s votes, beating Ken Jennings’ 12% support and trampling Richards’ measly three percent.
Support for Burton went beyond just average fans, too, as Meghan McCain advocated for him in a tweet last week.
“Why couldn’t they just give it to @levarburton like literally everyone on the planet wanted?” she asked
If “the viewers are always right,” fans may expect to see Burton back behind the podium.
Will Mayim Bialik have a larger role?
The 45-year-old “The Big Bang Theory” and “Call Me Kat” actor could hardly contain her excitement upon announcing that she would be hosting primetime and spinoff specials of the show earlier this month.
“What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life!” she said in a statement at the time.
While it is not yet clear if Bialik will step into a larger role with the show in Richards’ absence, she would make a logical choice.
At the time when Bialik guest-hosted the show in late spring, she said being a female role model as “a woman of science” for young viewers was something held very close to her.
“Not just young girls, but for young girls and boys, to see that women can be scientists and can do these types of intellectual things, that feels very important to me,” Bialik said during an interview with the show.
Could Laura Coates finally guest host?
In 2018, Alex Trebek put this CNN legal analyst on his short list of desired successors, yet Laura Coates never even had the opportunity to guest host.
Since the news of Richards’ scandal broke, many fans were enraged to learn Coates had been snubbed from being able to prove her worth on the big stage.
“Jeopardy!” now has the opportunity to mend the situation by bringing Coates in as a new guest host for upcoming episodes.
Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Coates has maintained being the better person this week online, posting a “favorite” inspirational quote from Trebek:
“Don’t tell me what you believe in. I’ll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination.”
Should Joe Buck get a callback?
Many fans appreciated Buck’s often unfiltered commentary while hosting the show, like when he told viewers, “I could say more, but they would edit it out,” during his final introduction.
That bit of personality recently showed when the voice of the World Series got into it with longtime “Jeopardy!” champ James Holzhauer on Twitter.
“Jeopardy says whoever hosts full time will have to quit their other job, so I’m crossing my fingers it’s Joe Buck,” Holzhauer tweeted.
Buck, 52, rebutted on a Sports Illustrated Media podcast:
“I wouldn’t know James Holzhauer if he was sitting here in my room,” Buck said. “I don’t know much about him. I know about his success on the show, but I don’t know what kind of a guy he is. I have no idea. I couldn’t care less.”
Getting these two together not only would make for entertaining television but also act as a gigantic diversion to the problems at hand.
What about other outliers and former champs?
The primetime show has had plenty of guests hosts since Trebek’s passing.
Could we see a return of Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper or Dr. Oz?
Since Aaron Rodgers re-signed with the Green Bay Packers, it’s safe to say he’s benched.
But what about former champs like Ken Jennings or Buzzy Cohen?
Today, one fan called for the duo to unite with Cohen taking the stage and Jennings booting Richards out as executive producer.
“The obvious choice is Buzzy Cohen! Don’t screw it up twice!” another fan tweeted.
Others rallied in support of Jennings for his connection to Trebek alone.
“Ken Jennings wasn’t even my favorite guest host but Trebek left the man a pair of his cuff links, do you understand the symbolic power of that, just give him the job,” user @LiveAndLetDave posted.
How will ‘Jeopardy!’ regain trust?
For many, “Jeopardy!” has been an outlet to escape from the divisiveness and mean spirit of the world — and it has been that way for generations.
The show brought families together and was a delightful educational resource for children and adults alike, all at the hands of the long-loved knight in shining armor, Alex Trebek, who died at age 80 in November after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
These past few days, however, have been an unfortunate stain on the show’s own armor, leading to an urgent issue that needs to be fixed.
It’s now up to the team at “Jeopardy!” to prove there’s more to it than solely Trebek’s talent. Re-establishing audience trust is an issue larger than deciding the next host, though those two issues are symbiotic — and Sony clearly has its hands full now.
Another wrong step and the future of the show could be in, well, jeopardy.