‘Jeopardy!’ Legend James Holzhauer Explains Why He’s Taken Shots at Mike Richards After Producer, Host’s Ousting

by Chris Haney

On Tuesday night, legendary Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer took another shot at disgraced executive producer turned host Mike Richards after his recent ousting.

Even before Richards stepped down as Jeopardy! host, Holzhauer made his feelings clear about the hire. Sony Pictures executives allowed Richards to return to his original role as producer. However, earlier today, Sony execs announced to the game show’s staff that Richards would not retain his original position. Holzhauer heard the news and chimed in on the matter once again tonight.

Holzhauer is among Jeopardy! royalty as one of the game show’s greatest contestants of all-time. He holds a 32-game winning streak on the popular trivia show. The former contestant is also second in earnings and games won behind Ken Jennings.

Therefore Holzhauer has numerous ties to the famous game show, and is still in tune with the ongoings of the show that made him famous. That’s why he’s taken a personal interest in Jeopardy!‘s full-time host search that began after iconic host Alex Trebek passed away in November 2020. And he hasn’t liked what he’s seen throughout the months-long process.

Following Mike Richards’ hire as Trebek’s permanent replacement, reports circulated about comments he made on his old podcast. Further reports brought up previous lawsuits that Richards faced while working as a producer on The Price Is Right.

Holzhauer took to Twitter tonight to comment on Richards once again. He didn’t just judge Richards because of his podcast comments that came to light recently. Instead, Holzhauer said he saw how Richards treated people backstage at Jeopardy!, and that’s why he has such a negative opinion of him.

Mike Richards Steps Down as EP for ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Mike Richards’ rise and fall became very public and had about as many twists and turns as a Hollywood feature film. The Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune executive producer quickly became a frontrunner in the search for the game show’s next host. Yet less than a month after Sony hired him for the position, he’s now out of a job entirely.

Sony Pictures execs told the game show’s staff on Tuesday that Richards would step down from his role as executive producer. He will not rejoin Jeopardy! or Wheel of Fortune. Sony EVP Suzanne Prete said in an email that the backlash from his past podcast comments made it impossible for Richards to continue as an executive producer.

“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,” Prete said, according to Deadline. “That clearly has not happened.”

Multiple reports speculated about Richards’ future with the two game shows. In fact, many reports suggested that Sony was looking to push Richards out. Richards reportedly hired a lawyer to protect him from the inevitable, but it’s not clear what changed or why he voluntarily stepped down. British producer Michael Davies will now fill in for Richards as executive producer of Jeopardy! as the show searches for his permanent replacement.