10:30am PT by Rick Porter
'Jeopardy,' 'Wheel of Fortune' Tap 'Price Is Right' Veteran as Exec Producer
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy have a succession plan in place for when longtime executive producer Harry Friedman steps down in 2020.
Sony Pictures TV, which produces both syndicated game shows, has named Mike Richards as the new exec producer for the two series. He'll assume the role when the 72-year-old Friedman steps aside after the 2019-20 season, his 25th at Sony.
Richards is a veteran of The Price Is Right and Let's Make a Deal, having executive produced both from 2009 to 2018. He recently signed a multiyear overall deal with Sony that 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 Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins. "Mike’s experience working with long-running franchises like The 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."
Said Richards, "Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are the gold standard of television — exceptional, timeless formats produced by amazing teams. 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."
Wheel of Fortune will air its 37th season in 2019-20 and Jeopardy its 36th in its current iteration. The two shows remain among the most-watched programs in syndication, and Jeopardy posted its best ratings in more than a decade during contestant James Holzhauer's 32-game win streak earlier in the year.