Syndication stalwarts “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” have found the executive producer who will replace the legendary Harry Friedman when he retires next year. Friedman, 72, is set to step aside following the 2019-2020 season, which marks his 25th year at Sony Pictures Television.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that Sony has named Mike Richards as the new EP on both game shows.
“Richards is a veteran of ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ having executive produced both from 2009 to 2018,” THR reports. “He recently signed a multiyear overall deal with Sony that takes effect in September.”
Sony Pictures TV Chairman Mike Hopkins is quoted saying: “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!’ Mike’s experience working with long-running franchises like ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ makes 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.”
The report notes that “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,” THR adds.