‘Jeopardy!’: Mike Richards Reportedly Preparing for Legal Battle After Being Fired From Show

by Taylor Cunningham

Jeopardy! has been suffering from ongoing drama ever since the passing of long-time host Alex Trebek. And now, it seems that there is a new scandal brewing. Today (September 3rd) Fox News broke that ex-producer Mike Richards has hired an attorney and is ready to sue Sony.

Mike Richards served as the executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune before becoming Jeopardy’s new host. Shortly after starting his gig, recordings from his 2013 podcasts began to circulate. In the recordings, Richard’s made a number of inappropriate comments about women and Jewish people. Richard apologized for his “provocative” remarks and vowed to be better. 

But after a huge backlash from the game show’s fans, he chose to resign as the face of the series. Following that resignation, Sony decided to fire him from his executive producer position. The decision came after the show announced that Richards would undergo sensitivity training in order to remain the EP.

“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel 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,” Suzanne Prete, EVP, business and strategy wrote to staff members on Tuesday.

And now, Richards has lawyered up with Los Angeles-based Bryan J. Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman, LLP. in what appears to be a legal battle over his firing. However, Sony has not responded to Fox’s request for comment.

The recent Jeopardy! situation isn’t Mike Richards’s first run with scandal. Back in 2010, he was also sued by model Shane Stirling after she claimed he fired her after she became pregnant in 2008.

Richards said he fired Stirling because they cut their modeling pool in half. Drew Carey was a new host at the time, and the producers wanted to focus on the models who had the best on-screen chemistry with him. The judge dismissed the case after noting that Stirling didn’t produce enough evidence and the statute of limitations had ended.

Following Stirling’s lawsuit, another model, Brandi Cochran, claimed she was also fired after becoming pregnant. The model said that she had delayed starting a family because two other models were fired after becoming pregnant. Cochran recalled Richards being “annoyed” after she told him she was pregnant with twins, and shortly after, he let her go. Once she gave birth, Cochran won her lawsuit for $8.5 million. However, the judge later threw out his decisions, and the two sides settled outside of court.