Richards would be surprised if the new permanent host were not one of the guest hosts:
https://outsider.com/news/entertainment ... n-support/
(I think this is just a re-reporting of the audio story Mario500 linked to above)
I just listened to the WSJ show and this is what I got out of it (just my impressions):
1. Mike Richards does not have the final word on who the next host will be. That will be higher-up Sony Entertainment executives ("the heads of Sony"). Based on that alone, I think Ken Jennings is out, unless they base their decision on ratings alone. The suits are more likely going to want to go with a polished, established TV personality, more along the lines of Cooper or Bialik.
2. Mike Richards doesn't think the host should represent "knowledge" so much as "credibility", whether the audience can give credence to the host's on-the-spot rulings.
3. Mike Richards is dismissive, rightly or wrongly, of social media fan campaigns like the one that amplified LeVar Burton's desire to be a guest host. He thinks they're vocal minorities who aren't representative of the viewership as a whole that the ad buyers pay for. LeVar's principal appeal is Reading Rainbow
4. Mike Richards likes Aaron Rodgers, more than LeVar Burton, and more than any of the other guest hosts, but would want Rodgers to quit football to take on the job.
5. Mike Richards is mindful of the need to expand the viewing audience to take the show into the future.
A lot of people were interested, but some interested parties bowed out for fear of doing poorly.
Test is extensive in its size and scope. Includes focus groups and monitoring of social media. Using real analytics, and not just "hey, how about this guy".
Alex was a producer, host, brought class and charisma, a relatability to the audience. He read the clues, ran the show, dictated the pace. Work ethic led show by example.
Host has to deliver all of the content, call on every contestant, make ruling on every clue, get you to break, speed up when you're slow, be both the play-by-play person and the color commentator, and read 61 clues in 22 minutes (actually less).
Mike Richards' job description for the host includes credibility, vocal tone, visual aesthetic.
No replacement host will have all the necessary attributes day 1.