'Jeopardy!' executive producer becomes overnight sensation after COVID forces him to host

Following the departure of Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings after his six-week stint as guest-host, executive producer Mike Richards stepped in to fill the shoes of the late, great Alex Trebek. Though Jeopardy! has several high-profile guest-hosts lined up, like CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, many had to be postponed, as Richards explained on Monday when he took to the stage for the first time as host.

“I’m hosting today and for the next two weeks to keep the greatest quiz show in the world going,” Richards said. “We have some amazing guest hosts coming that I can't wait for you to see. But with the COVID outbreak here in L.A., folks were understandably a little reticent to shoot. So as the producer, my job is to quite literally live the mantra, the show must go on. So let's do what Alex did 8,244 times. Let's play Jeopardy! and prove that nothing can stop this show.”

Jeopardy! fans immediately took to Richards, with many calling for him to be made permanent host.

On Tuesday, Richards kicked off his second day of guest-hosting with a beautiful shout out to Trebek.

“Working with Alex was even better than you could have imagined. His intensity for the show, his humor, his kindness, but most impressively, his love for his wife Jean and his kids. He was everything you could hope for and more,” Richards said. “He was an idol of mine, and I will work every day to try to live up to the example he set. So with that in mind," Richards said, looking to the contestants, "Sam, Aaron and Frances, good luck. This is for you, Alex.”

Richards has previously hosted The Pyramid and Beauty and the Geek, and has won multiple Daytime Emmys as producer of The Price Is Right.

Jeopardy! is a syndicated program; visit Jeopardy.com or check your local listings for the TV schedule.

Watch newly engaged Ricki Lake share details of her surprise proposal: 'I was naked in the jacuzzi':

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

Tell us what you think! Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. And check out our host, Kylie Mar, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.