Mike Richards out as ‘Jeopardy!’ host after taping for a single day
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He had taped one day of episodes as permanent host.
Richards was announced as Trebek’s replacement on the syndication version of “Jeopardy!” Aug. 4, 2021. The same day, Mayim Bialik was announced as host of the show’s primetime specials scheduled to air on ABC.
Not only did Richards’ hire come under heavy fire by fans because he essentially hired himself (and wasn’t one of the more well received guests), but his past came back to haunt him, which ultimately was likely his undoing.
Even as reports surfaced that Richards was in final talks to succeed Trebek, stories surfaced reminding everyone that Richards had been in charge of “The Price is Right” at a time when it allegedly fired one of its models after she became pregnant — among other accusations.
Richards denied any wrongdoing, claiming the actions did not represent his values.
Then reports surfaced that Richards had made disparaging comments about a variety of people on a comedy podcast in 2013 and 2014, including where he made negative comments about Jews and women and asked his female assistant and co-host if they had ever taken nude photos. He also called his co-host a “booth ho.”
So, Sony Pictures Television announced that Richards had agreed to step aside as the new host following the reports from his past.
He will remain executive producer of the show and its sister game show, “Wheel of Fortune.” While Sony mentioned his past behavior in its announcement, it did not indicate if this could endanger his job as EP.
The announcement comes one day after Richards finished his first taping on Aug. 19, 2021.
It’s not immediately clear if those episodes will air, though it seems likely they will, given that the show was in the middle of a high profile run with big time champ Matt Amodio and it couldn’t shelve those episodes and maintain continuity (technically speaking, game show rules often say contestants don’t collect their winnings if the episode never airs).
“Jeopardy!” will move forward with another round of guests hosts to start its 38th season before making a final decision on co-host.
Bialik’s deal with the show remains in place.
Below is the memo Richards sent the “Jeopardy!” team:
It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.
As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.
SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.
I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.