What Is Mike Richards' Net Worth?

After months of placing different stars behind the podium, it seems that "Jeopardy!" may finally be closer to finding its official new host. The iconic game show has been searching for its new moderator since its longtime host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in November 2020.

Once the episodes that Trebek taped had all aired in January 2021, "Jeopardy!" decided to use the next few months to feature an array of celebrity guest hosts from actors to news correspondents to even athletes. The roster included TV personality Katie Couric, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, "Today" show host Savannah Guthrie, and "Good Morning America" anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts. While those are of course big names, it seems that the hosts who ended up becoming the fan favorites were "Big Bang Theory" actor Mayim Bialik, former "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings, and "Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton.

Yet, it turns out that it could actually be "Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards. A few months after he first stepped in as guest host, Richards may now be in advanced negotiations to become the next permanent host of the show, according to Variety. When it comes to television, Richards has had a long career behind the scenes, as well as in front of the camera. While he may not be the most recognizable name out of all the guest hosts, Richards is definitely considered a success in the entertainment industry.

Before he was a guest host, Mike Richards was named executive producer

When it comes to "Jeopardy!" Mike Richards is no stranger to the game show's set since he's been the executive producer since 2020. While that may not seem like a long time, Richards came to "Jeopardy!" during unprecedented times. He explained to Parade, "My first day as executive producer was in the middle of the shutdown due to the pandemic, so everything was already upside down and this incredible staff never missed a beat." He continued, "They were doing everything they could do to get back into production. Even Alex [Trebek] was calling me saying that he wanted to be the first show back in the studio."

It was also the pandemic that led him to fill in as host of the show following Trebek's death. Richards revealed at the time (via Parade), "I'm hosting today and for the next two weeks to keep the greatest quiz show in the world going. We have some amazing guest hosts coming...But with the COVID outbreak here in LA, folks were understandably a little reticent to shoot."

While that all happened back in late February 2021, it appears that Richards' impressed the big shots behind "Jeopardy!" enough that months later he would be considered the frontrunner over far more recognizable names. It seems that Richards knows how to work his way up to the top to where the big money is in TV.

Mike Richards is worth more than you think

Mike Richards has been more of a behind the scenes guy for years, and the line of work has apparently treated his pocket well. According to Exact Net Worth, Richards is worth around $6 million, thanks to a long career of producing mostly well-known TV shows. Most recently, Richards became the executive producer of both "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" after showrunner Harry Friedman stepped away, according to Deadline.

While it's unclear how much Richards makes executive producing two iconic game shows, he did sign a multi-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television that began in September that had to have given his bank account a big boost. According to Variety, Richards also has experience as the executive producer of the celebrity edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" that aired on ABC in 2020.

But this wasn't Richards' first taste of success. The three-time Emmy Award winner had worked as an executive producer on the renowned daytime game show, "The Price is Right" from 2009 to 2018. Richards credits his earnings to a long career of working hard. As he told USA Today in May 2021, "I've produced for a really long time, and I take great pride in my career path and my work ethic." It's clear that pride has quite literally paid off for Richards. 

Mike Richards net worth will probably get even higher

Although Mike Richards is currently a rich TV executive, he may just become even richer within the coming months. As Variety reported on August 4, 2021, the executive producer of "Jeopardy!" is apparently "in advanced negotiations with Sony Pictures Television to become permanent host of the venerable quiz show." While Richards probably makes a good chunk of change as the show's EP, it's safe to assume as the face of the show he'll make a lot more. A source revealed that "there's no certainty that the sides will close a deal and that other candidates remain in the mix," but they did add "Richards is clearly the front-runner."

It's unclear how much the new host of "Jeopardy" would earn from the gig, but Celebrity Net Worth lists former host Alex Trebek's salary at approximately $18 million a year. 

If Richards doesn't get the job as permanent host, he still has managed to make a name for himself as someone who is in the running to be the next host of a very popular TV show. This could lead to another hosting gig, a book deal, or guest speaking events which would presumably bring in even more money for Richards. Either way, guest hosting "Jeopardy!" was clearly a good career move for the father of two. 

Mike Richards created a talk show for his university that surely set him up for success

Mike Richards wasn't always a powerful player in television, but he did start working toward that goal way back in college. According to Parade, he created, wrote, produced, and hosted a weekly late-night talk show called "The Randumb Show" while he attended Pepperdine University. Richards reflected, "It was the beginning of my love affair with television. I often slept at the TV station so I could work all hours on the show."

While college TV stations usually don't pay well — if at all — the experience probably didn't hurt when Richards was applying for internship positions. He recalled, "I was an intern at 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' right out of college. That turned into a production assistant job on the show." This of course then opened the doors for the TV career Richards has today. He once reflected on his instagram, writing, "My dream was to work anywhere in TV... I was so hungry to be a part of all of this back then and the more I get to do it, the hungrier I get."

It's clear that hunger has taken Richards from college talk show host to now the next possible host of the iconic "Jeopardy!," which is something that has always been special to Richards. He gushed, "As a kid I remember Alex and the mustache... My emotions towards the show haven't changed...It made me have that craving to be smart."

Producing TV shows been good to Mike Richards' wallet

Mike Richards didn't just become the well-to-do executive producer of "Jeopardy!" overnight. In fact, he'd already had a lengthy career in television that spanned over twenty years. Parade reports that his experience includes "producing talk shows, dating shows, celebrity shows, reality shows, clips shows, game shows and cable news." Richards' first job as a producer appeared to be in 2000 (via IMDb) when he worked on the TV series "Friends or Lovers."

A few years later in 2006, Richards produced The CW's "Beauty and the Geek," which he also hosted. He did the same for the Game Show Network show "The Pyramid" in 2012. But Richards' career as a producer really started to take off in 2008 when he became the co-executive producer of the popular daytime game show "The Price Is Right," according to Variety. He also helped sell the revival of "Let's Make a Deal" to CBS, which he had executive produced as well.

Suffice to say, he's put a lot of hours in. "By the time he took the reins of 'Jeopardy,'" Variety points out, "Richards had produced more than 4,000 hours of game shows." It seems that Richards has always found steady work as a producer and was able to work his way up to more well-known game shows, which presumably paid better. While that has clearly been lucrative for him, Richards has also apparently gravitated towards hosting, which may mean more to him than just a paycheck.

The hosting gigs that've added to Mike Richards' net worth

While Mike Richards may make the big bucks from working behind the scenes in TV, it appears that he also has an interest in being in front of the camera. Not only has he hosted several pilots through the years, fans may recognize him from his time hosting the WB reality show "High School Reunion" in 2006, or from the Ashton Kutcher produced reality hit "Beauty and the Geek" on the CW from 2006 to 2008. He also hosted the movie news show "Dailies," the 2012 revival of "The Pyramid," and "Divided" on the Game Show Network, and served as a correspondent for "New Years' Rockin' Eve" in 2005.

It may be that hosting is a passion project for Richards since hosts, unless famous like the late Alex Trebek or Pat Sajak, don't necessarily make a lot of money. According to Comparably, the average annual salary for a game show host is about $32,196 a year in the U.S., with a high of $86,780. While some of Richards' $6 million net worth is probably from some of his hosting gigs, it's safe to assume he made most of his money running TV shows instead of hosting them.

Richards did however reveal in an instagram post that his "stated goal was to Executive Produce and host a show I created." With both executive producing and hosting experience, it appears that the Pepperdine University graduate is very close to reaching that goal.

Mike Richards has a background in standup comedy

Before Mike Richards found immense success in the worlds of game shows and reality TV, the California native was once a comic. According to Parade, Richards got into the world of standup comedy after his time at Pepperdine, presumably while he was surrounded by other comedians during his time as an intern at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." It's clear that having a background in comedy helped Richards become a quick witted and easy-going host for other TV shows, so it seems to have been a good career move.

Richards also has acting experience and has appeared on the classic daytime drama "The Bold and the Beautiful" twice. According to his IMDb, he had a role as an interviewer in a 2009 episode of the soap opera, and in 2013 he returned as a character named Thad, an employee of Forrester Creations. CBS reports that Richards guest starred on the show along with two models from "The Price Is Right" and "Let's Make A Deal," where he served as executive producer.

While it appears that neither comedy nor acting was the way for Richards to earn the big bucks, he still appears to be holding out that he'll be the next famous TV host of "Jeopardy!." He told USA Today, "I mean, it's the greatest job in television ... I would definitely consider it if Sony made that decision and wanted me to do it. It would be amazing."