Mike Richards is taking over as executive producer on both “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” Richards will take the reins of both shows following the exit of longtime executive producer Harry Friedman, who announced in the beginning of August that he would be stepping down in 2020 when his contract expires.
“’Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Jeopardy!’ are the gold standard of television – exceptional, timeless formats produced by amazing teams,” Richards said. “Alex Trebek, Vanna White and Pat Sajak are incredible hosts and I can’t wait to work side by side with them on these world class franchises. Harry Friedman’s 25-year run can only be described as legendary. I have long been inspired by his hard work and brilliant decision making, and I’m honored to get to work with Harry over the next few months. Thank you to Mike Hopkins and the entire Sony team for this dream opportunity.”
Friedman has produced more than 6,270 hours of game shows during his career and is the most decorated game show producer in history with 14 Emmy Awards. He first joined “Wheel of Fortune” in 1995 and added “Jeopardy!” to his purview in 1997. He also holds three world records, including the one for most game show episodes ever produced.
As Variety exclusively reported in June, Richards stepped down from his role as the longtime executive producer of both “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” after signing a multi-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, which produces all four game shows. That deal takes effect in September.
“We are fortunate to have Mike, one of the top game show producers in the business, join the talented teams at ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Jeopardy!,’” said Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television. “Mike’s experience working with long running franchises like ‘Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ make him the ideal successor for our iconic shows. We also look forward to Mike growing our already strong game show business and to developing and producing shows for network, cable, and streaming platforms. We are grateful for the leadership and impeccable direction Harry has so elegantly provided over many years and look forward to the continued success of these beloved shows.”
Richards has produced over 4,000 hours of game show programming during his career. He is also known for his work in front of the camera, having hosted five series including “Beauty and the Geek,” Game Show Network’s 2016–17 version of “Divided,” and the 2012 revival of “The Pyramid.”
“Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” are produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.