This is a big week for “Jeopardy!” fans. Not only did executive producer Mike Richards get named the permanent host, but he also started taping episodes and removed himself from the position within the span of a few days.
Variety broke the news earlier today, reporting that Richards stepped down from the position himself. Sony Pictures Television was just as shocked by the decision as we were, but they said, “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward.”
The “offensive language” used by the previous “Jeopardy!” host warranted a request from the Anti-Defamation League that Richards’ past be investigated. Several fans on social media also called for Richards’ removal, citing not only his questionable history but also his involvement in the host selection process.
In a statement, Richards reiterated that he was “deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show” and “thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role” beyond executive producer. But he feared his recent controversy “would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”
Instead, another line of guest hosts will step in to film the upcoming season.
What Do ‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Think of Richards Stepping Down?
On a recent Reddit thread, fans sounded off about Mike Richards stepping down.
For the most part, everyone was excited to see real change being made. The network (and Richards) seemed to listen to fan input. Several people called for Ken Jennings to be seriously considered for the job this time. Others made jokes about Richards’ involvement in the selection process not working out for him.
“I guess Mike Richards didn’t vet himself enough prior to selecting himself as the new host,” one fan commented.
Others expressed their surprise that Richards encountered consequences for his past actions.
“I am pretty surprised honestly,” one Reddit user wrote. “Most ‘Jeopardy!’ viewers who are not extremely online like us wouldn’t have heard about these controversies and I thought Sony would just push through it and people would stop caring.”
But this fan laid out Richards’ bad behavior from top to bottom
“What an absolute mess,” the fan started. “So from what we’ve surmised – this guy leaned on the host selection process from the beginning, then made it clear that there was never really any competition, then spent the last two weeks doing PR work to try and atone for some pretty terrible behavior, which pissed off thousands of loyal J! fans (and honestly left a real sour taste after we lost Alex), only to walk away just as recording begins and start the whole process over again.”
The fan continued: “This whole thing has been a slap in the face for fans, for the rank-and-file production crew, and for the talented folks who tried out to continue Alex’s legacy. Sony, you suck. You really, really suck. Do better.”
Overall, another fan summed up everything perfectly.
“Who knew a quiz show could deliver so much drama? Must be great for ratings.”