Less than a month after being named as Alex Trebek’s successor as Jeopardy! host, Mike Richards is out of a job entirely. Sony executives told staff on Tuesday that Richards had stepped down from his role of executive producer on the beloved game show. He also resigned as producer of Wheel of Fortune as well.
Sony executives told Jeopardy! staff Tuesday that Richards was out. Suzanne Prete, Sony EVP, said in an email that the fallout of Richards’ past controversial comments made going forward with as executive producer impossible.
“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 in the email by Deadline. “That clearly has not happened.”
Reports have speculated for weeks that Sony was looking to push Richards out. However, Richards had reportedly hired a lawyer to prevent that from happening. It’s unclear why he changed his tune and voluntarily stepped down.
British producer Michael Davies will take over for Richards as executive producer of Jeopardy! in the interim.
Sony hired Richards to replace Alex Trebek as host of the popular game show earlier this month. His tenure lasted all of one day. That’s because The Ringer reported on past seemingly racist and sexist comments Richards made on his podcasts, Randumb, several years ago. Richards stepped down to minimize the damage, but it has continued to cause problems for Jeopardy! in the intervening weeks.
Many former Jeopardy! contestants and some show staff wanted Richards out as the show’s executive producer, as well. He promised staff in a video conference after he stepped down as host that he would work to regain their trust.
Who Will Host ‘Jeopardy!’ Next Season?
Part of Mike Richards‘ problems began earlier this summer when reports first emerged that he was the front runner to replace Trebek. Richards, who was in charge of finding a new host, reportedly inserted himself into the discussions. It made sense. He hosted a game show before, and he steered Jeopardy! through COVID-19 and the unfortunate death of Alex Trebek in November.
This move soured many fans toward him. And when The Ringer report dropped, they were quick to abandon him. Now, Mayim Bialik will take over temporary hosting duties as the show once again starts a new search to hind its host. Sony hired Bialik to take over all primetime shows and any potential Jeopardy! spinoffs.
Sony took a firm grip on the host search following Richards exit as host. Though, they’ve provided no timetable going forward.
Jeopardy! will begin airing new episodes on September 13. Richards filmed the first week of shows before stepping down as host.