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Michael Davies Named Permanent EP of 'Jeopardy!'

Michael Davies, creator of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire, is 'Jeopardy!''s permanent EP.
Michael Davies, creator of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire, is 'Jeopardy!''s permanent EP. (Image credit: Sony Pictures Television/'Jeopardy!')

Michael Davies has been named permanent executive producer of Jeopardy!, he announced Thursday in a post on Jeopardy!’s website.

“Today, I am delighted to announce that I have accepted Sony’s offer to become the show’s full time Executive Producer,” Davies wrote. “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.” 

Davies is best known for creating and executive producing massive game show hit, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, which dominated ABC’s primetime in the early 2000s with Regis Philbin as host and then moved into syndication from 2002-2019. A celebrity version of the game currently airs on ABC primetime with Jimmy Kimmel as host.

In 1999, Davies launched his company Embassy Row, which Sony Pictures Television acquired in 2009. Embassy Row, where Davies remains president, produces such shows as Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead, among others. 

“My television journey … started in development: first at Merv Griffin, then Disney, then ABC, then Sony, where I have spent a career creating and finding new ideas for television,” Davies wrote. “After a while, I started producing those ideas as well. A few have been huge hits. Some have been critical hits. Others, less so (!) But I’ve only ever produced what I’ve developed. I’ve never been given a show to produce, let alone a legacy. And it’s one of the reasons why, after more than three decades in this business, the opportunity to step in and help out on Jeopardy! on an interim basis has been such an unexpected pleasure.” 

Last fall, Sony tapped Davies to take over Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on an interim basis after Mike Richards was fired. In March, Bellamie Blackstone was named executive producer of Wheel of Fortune.

While Davies runs Jeopardy!, he will also work closely with Sony to develop more content in the game space via Embassy Row, he said.

“The studio’s strong commitment to game shows also allows me to bring Embassy Row’s game show development and production expertise to the new Sony Games area being run by my partner in all things Jeopardy!, Suzanne Prete. Suzanne and I are like the human embodiment of a Venn diagram, very different backgrounds and starting points, but a huge shaded area in the middle where we are completely aligned on the future of Jeopardy! and the game show business at large,” Davies wrote. 

“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. We have so many plans to expand our working relationship in the future and already several Embassy Row creatives and producers have started work within the group. With the brilliant Bellamie Blackstone joining to lead Wheel of Fortune, the studio’s superb library, multiple shows in development, and a reinvigorated partnership with our colleagues over at GSN, Sony is truly positioned to become an even greater force  in the game-show space.” ■

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.