As more information continues to come out following Mike Richards‘ exit as Jeopardy!‘s newest full-time host, reports have indicated he will undergo sensitivity training as he stays on as executive producer of the game show.
A recent New York Times report has spoken to multiple sources involved with the popular trivia show. They each have direct knowledge of the recent debacle that was the Mike Richards hire. The insiders confirmed to the NY Times that Richards will keep his original job as executive producer. However, he will be required to partake in sensitivity training after his past inappropriate podcast comments came to light.
The report also states that Richards’ own spokesperson confirmed that he isn’t leaving his position with Sony Pictures. In addition, the spokesperson said that Richards is “committed to continuing as the executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.” He took the job two years ago after working as a co-executive producer of The Price Is Right for more than a decade.
The NY Times report states that Sony hired business and legal affairs executive Suzanne Prete who will lead Richards through his sensitivity training. The outlet noted that Sony hired Prete before Richards stepped down from his Jeopardy! hosting role.
Mike Richards became a frontrunner for longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek‘s position in recent weeks. Yet numerous scandals created a media frenzy around his hire shortly after. He made disparaging comments about women, Jewish people, and those who are unemployed on his old podcast. Additionally, he is named in a discrimination lawsuit from his time working on The Price Is Right. After accepting the coveted hosting gig, Richards stepped down after only one week on the job.
‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer Turned Host Already Had Questionable Past
Mike Richards may have only lasted a week before resigning. But there were clear signs of his inappropriate behavior long before his most recent allegations came to light. In fact, allegations against him came about a decade before his most recent Jeopardy! hire.
While still a co-producer on The Price Is Right in 2011, an alleged victim brought a lawsuit against the two co-producers. Lanisha Cole, one of the game show’s models, alleged that the men constantly humiliated her on the job. She also claimed the show wrongfully terminated her. Two years after the filing, the parties settled her case under undisclosed terms. Yet that isn’t the only lawsuit against Richards during his time on The Price Is Right. A separate lawsuit alleged that Richards made disparaging remarks about pregnant women as well.
Most recently, The Ringer reported on Richards’ old podcast and shared his controversial remarks. The Ringer report highlighted his inappropriate comments about women, women’s bodies, Jewish people, and Asian people. That’s when the backlash against Jeopardy! hiring Richards started to gain traction, which led to his almost immediate demise.
Richards stepped down from the coveted position in an internal memo he shared with the game show’s staff. In his statement, Richards said to the game show’s staff he was “honored” and “thrilled” to accept Trebek’s job. Yet he also admitted his “past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy!” that he realized he wouldn’t be able to maintain the role.