‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Mike Richards Addresses ‘Ongoing’ Host Search

by Leanne Stahulak

While a permanent “Jeopardy!” host has not yet been confirmed by Sony Pictures Television, reports came in last week that executive producer Mike Richards was the “frontrunner.”

Variety first broke the news, which sparked tons of fans to speak out online about the consideration. Some were excited, having enjoyed Richards’ time as a guest host on the show. Others expressed their disappointment, either with his “bland” performance or because they wanted a different person for the job.

And then there were some who were outraged because of Richards’ previous lawsuit issues on “The Price is Right.” Richards served as executive producer for the show from 2008 to 2018, before switching over to “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” last year. But during that time, one of the show’s models sued him for pregnancy discrimination after she got fired.

Brandi Cochran initially won the $8.5 million lawsuit against Richards, but the judge eventually threw out the decision. Richards and Cochran ended up settling the case out of court.

Though the incident occurred a decade ago, the allegations against Richards resurfaced when news broke that he would become the next “Jeopardy!” host. And today, per The Hollywood Reporter, Richards decided to speak up about the allegations against him and his possible hiring as the permanent host.

‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Mike Richards Talks To Staff About Recent Allegations

Richards sent out a long memo to the “Jeopardy!” staff on Monday morning to give his side of the story. He started off by acknowledging that this past year has been “the most challenging in the history of the show. I know we are all still dealing with the loss of our hero, Alex, while at the same time continuing to produce amazing shows for our millions of fans through the pandemic.”

Richards thanked the staff for their hard work before discussing how he feels about taking on the permanent host position.

“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show.  I was humbled and deeply honored.  No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing,” Richards said. He continued by saying he wanted to continue Alex Trebek’s legacy and focus on putting contestants first.

“I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at ‘The Price is Right’ ten years ago,” Richards said. “These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right.”

Richards went on to say how he respected “The Price is Right” models’ pregnancy journeys. He also invited the staff to come to him with any questions or concerns.

Sony Pictures Television has not formally announced that Richards will be the permanent “Jeopardy!” host. But it’s only a matter of time before they announce somebody.