As Ken Jennings' 'Jeopardy!' hosting gig comes to an end, here's who's up next

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Mike Richards (jeopardy.com)
Mike Richards (jeopardy.com)

“Jeopardy!” is about to welcome a new guest host.

Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, will take over hosting duties next week from Ken Jennings, who stepped in following Alex Trebek’s death last year.

Richards is the executive producer of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” and he also has plenty of experience in front of the camera, having hosted multiple shows including “Beauty and the Geek” and the Game Show Network’s “Pyramid.”

“I was very fortunate to have a front row seat to watch and study Alex,” Richards said in a statement on the “Jeopardy!” website. “Stepping in as a guest host was incredibly humbling, emotional and a lot of fun. It will forever be the honor of my life.”

Related: Alex Trebek is irreplaceable, but experts and fans have floated several names as the next potential "Jeopardy!" host. So who are the contenders?

Richards, who will host from Feb. 22 until March 5, is the next in a series of planned interim hosts who will take a turn at the lectern this season. Other upcoming guest hosts include former TODAY co-host Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper and actor Mayim Bialik.

Trebek died in November at 80 from pancreatic cancer. Richards spent some time with the legendary host before he passed away, and he opened up about how Trebek spent his final days in an interview with TODAY.

“He had a swing in his backyard that he loved. He actually rebuilt it earlier this year. He was very handy. I don’t know if a lot of people know that,” he told Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in November.

“And even in his book, he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife, Jean, and kind of watching the horizon. And he got to do that."