Less than a day after the Anti-Defamation League requested an investigation into Mike Richards’ controversial past, the man tapped to be one of Alex Trebek’s replacements on “Jeopardy!” is out.
On August 11, “Jeopardy!” announced that Mike Richards would take the helm alongside “The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik. There was a fair amount of pushback among fans in the immediate wake of the decision. Initially, it was mostly because he was an executive producer on the show and was involved in its selection process.
That didn’t sit well with many. Especially when considering favorites for the position like Ken Jennings outperformed Richards in terms of raw ratings. But it didn’t take long for things to degrade even further.
An article from The Ringer exposed a series of questionable comments Richards made years ago as the co-host of a podcast. The backlash grew, and the very reasons Sony chose him in the first place had all been undone. They wanted someone who wouldn’t take attention away from the show itself.
By those standards, Richards wasn’t the worst choice. He was relatively popular among “Jeopardy!” fans when he acted as guest host. He has previous experience hosting and producing other game shows. And he wasn’t a particularly controversial figure. Until now, that is.
Mike Richards Issues Statement in Wake of Losing ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosting Gig
According to Variety, ending Richards’ short-lived tenure as a “Jeopardy!” host for Season 38 was a mutual decision. The ousted host and presumably continuing executive producer issued a statement addressed to the “Team” in the wake of the news.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” Richards began.
“As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
He continued to explain that Sony would resume its search for a permanent replacement to share time with Mayim Bialik. And that, for the time being, “Jeopardy!” will once again use guest hosts as it tapes for Season 38.
The only reason “Jeopardy!” needed a second permanent hosting option in the first place is because the preferred choice, Mayim Bialik, was unable to make the full time commitment due to prior obligations. Now, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the replacement of the replacement will be. A new batch of guest hosts promises to shake things up even further.