Mke Richards is officially out at Jeopardy! following a slew of controversies pertaining to his brief run as host. Richards, who also served as an executive producer for the beloved game show, was recently announced as the next full-time host of the beloved game show. This resulted in backlash with Richards stepping down just nine days later, though the plan was for him to remain on board to produce. Due to the ongoing controversy, Richards has been fired from that job as well.
In a message sent to the Jeopardy! crew, EVP of Business and Strategy Suzanne Prete wrote: "I'm writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of [Wheel of Fortune] and Jeopardy! effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened."
Prete also reveals that Michael Davies from Embassy Row will help with production on the show in an interim basis until further notice. The two also ensure staffers that they will work hard behind the scenes to ensure that production remains on schedule and they don't miss a beat heading into the new season. She also adds a message of encouragement to the team.
"I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks," she said. "As Ravi mentioned last week, I will be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward and I am looking forward to working closely with all of you. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything."
The search for a new Jeopardy! host has not gone swimmingly for the show following Alex Trebek's death last year. With no apparent rush to find a replacement, the idea was to revolve a series of guest hosts to fill in for the past season, each of them basically auditioning to stick around on full-time basis by the end. Richards did serve briefly during this time due to a scheduling conflict with Ken Jennings, though most fans didn't seem to be aware he was also gunning for the full-time gig at the time.
Naturally, many fans cried foul when Richards said he would be serving as Trebek's successor with Mayim Bialik hosting the spinoffs and specials. It got worse from there when derogatory comments from a podcast Richards co-hosted years ago came to light, which included some particularly disparaging comments about women. Richards also made a comment about how he likes to cheer for the "average white guy host" to succeed, and that obviously did not pair well with the executive producer naming himself as the next Jeopardy! host.
If that controversy wasn't enough, additional reports resurfaced about Richards' past in hosting game shows. He was the focus of a discrimination lawsuit during his time on The Price Is Right with a former model alleging he'd fired her after she became pregnant. Because of this and the other controversies, the Anti-Defamation League had publicly decried the decision to name Richards as the new Jeopardy! host and called for an investigation.
Mayim Bialik will serve as the interim host of Jeopardy! at this time until the next permanent host can be named. Many fans want to see Bialik herself just get the full-time job, while LeVar Burton fans are still hoping to see the Reading Rainbow host get another shot. In any case, Mike Richards taking the job has backfired on him in the biggest way possible. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.