Who is Michael Davies?
That would be the answer to the question of who Sony has named the new executive producer of “Jeopardy!,” as Davies announced on Thursday. The announcement comes after former EP and host Mike Richards was ousted from both of his positions in August, and Davies replaced him in the interim.
“Today, I am delighted to announce that I have accepted Sony’s offer to become the show’s full time executive producer,” Davies wrote on the “Jeopardy!” blog Thursday. “I am both honored and humbled by the faith the studio and the staff have put in me. Over the next few months, the scope of our plans will become clear. But, for now I just want to thank everyone in the ‘Jeopardy!’ community for your phenomenal support.”
Richards stepped down from his position as host, which he only occupied for nine days, after derogatory comments he made in the past on his podcast resurfaced last year, in addition to discrimination lawsuits from former employees on “The Price is Right,” which he produced. He was then fired from his EP positions on “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” which he had occupied since 2020, due to low morale on the sets of both his shows.
“We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at ‘Jeopardy!’ it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks,” Suzanne Prete, executive vice president, business and strategy, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” said in a note to staff at the time. “That clearly has not happened.”
At the time, Variety reported that Davies was not being considered to occupy the EP position permanently, as he was based in New York with multiple ongoing endeavors, including producing a number of unscripted shows, including “Watch What Happens Live.” His production company, Embassy Row, at the time was ramping up its production of podcasts.
This time around, though, Davies will only EP on “Jeopardy!,” as Bellamie Blackstone was named EP of “Wheel of Fortune” last month. In his announcement, Davies thanked a number of executives, including Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra, for their support, which he said allowed him to take the job because he has “the resources and people to continue to run and build Embassy Row in New York and L.A., and all of its productions.”
In August, Prete also announced that she would be taking a more active role in the show on a day-to-day basis. Davies said in his announcement that he would not have been able to take on the EP role without her support.
“Honestly, without the strength of our working relationship and the trust we both have in each other, I would never have been able to succeed in the interim role, and I never would have taken, let alone been offered, the permanent role,” Davies said via press release.
During the show’s current 38th season, “Jeopardy!” has been co-hosted by Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings, who will see the season through its finale in July. After that, Sony is expected to tap a permanent host for the game show, an endeavor that has been ongoing since the death of the show’s iconic host and EP, Alex Trebek, in November 2020.