Mike Richards didn’t last long as the host of Jeopardy!. Sony Pictures Television, the company that owns the show, made the announcement on August 11. Then, Richards walked away from the job on August 20th. He held the position for a total of nine days. However, he only actually hosted the show for one day.
In hindsight, Mike Richards’ job as the show’s host was doomed nearly from the start. He said all of the right words in the press release announcing his ascension. The release contained a message from Richards that read, in part, “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode.” It seemed like his heart was in the right place.
Fans of the show weren’t buying it, though. Rumors of Mike Richards’ new position started floating around before the official announcement. At that time, several people started talking about decade-old workplace discrimination lawsuits that named him.
Many Jeopardy! fans expected better from the show and its host. So, when the official announcement hit the internet, the fans’ ire followed close behind. Sony and Richards soldiered on, though. The EP-turned-host released a memo to the crew assuring them that those lawsuits didn’t reflect the kind of person he actually is. Filming for the new season started on August 19th.
The Final Nail in Mike Richards’ Hosting Coffin
Claire McNear, a journalist with The Ringer, released a scathing expose on Mike Richards on August 18. In that damning article, McNear dove deeper into the new host’s past. Specifically, McNear pointed to The Randumb Show, a podcast that Richards hosted between 2013 and 2014. In that podcast, he made several sexist and otherwise unsavory remarks.
At one point, he even asked his younger female co-host if she had ever taken nude photos of herself, referring to them as “boobie pictures.” The 20-second audio clip included in McNear’s piece shows just how uncomfortable the exchange was.
After the first day of filming, Jeopardy! staffers had an all-hands meeting. During that meeting, many members of the crew let Richards know just how much his past had damaged the brand and reputation of the show.
The next day, Mike Richards officially stepped down from the hosting position. In his single day of hosting, Richards taped five episodes of Jeopardy!. They will start airing on September 13.
Instead of serving as the show’s permanent host, Richards will be the first of a long string of guest hosts for the 38th season of Jeopardy!. Hopefully, the next host that Sony selects will be better received.