‘Jeopardy!’: Why Mike Richards Got into Legal Trouble in 2010 While Working on ‘The Price is Right’

by Matthew Memrick

Old legal issues involving “Jeopardy!” host front-runner Mike Richards is back in the news as the show works to secure its permanent host.

According to The Daily Beast, a model sued CBS and ‘Price Is Right’ producer Fremantle Media North America. Shane Stirling said her termination in 2008 came after she got pregnant. However, Stirling was having issues getting evidence to back her court claims. 

Another model, Brandi Cochran, claimed her firing from the show came for the same reason. Cochran and Stirling share the same lawyer.

According to Stirling, current “Jeopardy!” executive producer Richards and other producers cut the modeling pool in half to make the best fit with “The Price Is Right” host Drew Carey. Stirling said she was limited by her time off and would’ve had a better chance at keeping her job. The Daily Beast noted that her claim was not good enough and that the statute of limitations on the declaration had run out. 

In one part of the suit, The Daily Beast reported that Richards wanted the women’s skirts to be shorter. He also made it a point that they needed to look like they were going out, or would set up situations to where they would wear bathing suits.

Cochran gave birth to twins and later lost one due to a heart defect. After she lost her job and sued in court, she won an $8.5 million settlement. A judge later threw out the decision, and two sides eventually settled out of court. 

In 2011, another model sued Richards, producer Adam Sandler (not the comedian), and Fremantle Media North America. Lanisha Cole claimed she was sexually harassed and wrongfully terminated from her job on the show. According to the Los Angeles Times, Cole said that her first six years with the show after signing on in 2003 happened without incident.

Richards, the ‘Jeopardy!’ front-runner

Current “Jeopardy!” executive producer Richards is a top choice among several popular candidates. Show producers Sony Pictures Television has yet to confirm who will take over the late Alex Trebek’s prime hosting spot. Trebek hosted the show for more than 30 years.

Fan-favorite LeVar Burton, former Jeopardy champs David Faber, Buzzy Cohen, and Ken Jennings were among the top candidates. Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, and Anderson Cooper also battled for the top spot.

Another pool included Mayim Bialik, Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Oz, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, and Joe Buck. 

The Hollywood Reporter said Bialik and Cohen are also said to be among those still in consideration. Burton was also a front-runner but tweeted on Thursday that he wouldn’t be getting the gig. He later took down the Tweet. 

Sony Pictures declined to comment on the casting competition and Richards’ involvement in the lawsuits.