Previous to Mike Richards’ quick fall from grace as Jeopardy! host, he auditioned for another famous game show. Recently, the tape of Richards’ past audition for The Price Is Right was released following his Jeopardy! exit.
Richards hosted some lesser-known game shows in the past. But most recently he became an executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in 2020. Following iconic host Alex Trebek’s November 2020 death, the popular trivia show hired him to take over the lead role. However, it only lasted a week before scathing reports came out about his past inappropriate comments on his podcast. Controversy enveloped the hire, and he soon stepped down from the position.
Yet Richards had his sights set on another famous game show host’s job back in 2007. As legendary host Bob Barker‘s time came to an end on the The Price Is Right, Richards tried out for the role. 14 years later, his audition tape finally leaked on YouTube over the weekend.
Obviously, host Drew Carey ended up getting Barker’s old job. But Richards’ audition tape is a fascinating look into his quest to become the face of a popular game show. The footage shows him hosting the first 18 minutes of a The Price Is Right episode. It gives us an idea of how he would have interacted with contestants. Additionally, it reveals how he went about reciting rules and introducing each event such as the fan-favorite Plinko game.
Even though Richards didn’t get the job, The Price Is Right did hire him as a co-executive producer. In fact, he stayed with the show for more than a decade. After the 2018-2019 TV season, Sony Pictures hired him as the new executive producer of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mike Richards Came Under Scrutiny Before
The most recent Jeopardy! host only lasted a week before resigning. However, allegations against him popped up years before his most recent hire.
Lawsuits were brought against he and another producer on The Price Is Right in 2011. One of the game show’s models, Lanisha Cole, alleged that she was constantly humiliated and eventually wrongfully terminated. Two years later, the parties settled the case. In addition, another separate lawsuit claimed Richards made disparaging remarks about pregnant women.
Most recently, a report from The Ringer questioned Richards’ Jeopardy! hiring. The report took a look back at his old podcast where he shared controversial and disparaging remarks once again. The Ringer report brought to light inappropriate comments on Jewish people, Asian people, and women. The backlash against his new Jeopardy! hosting hire was met with swift judgment, and he didn’t last much longer in the position.
Richards removed himself from the coveted gig in an internal memo he sent to the game show’s staff members. In the statement, Richards told Jeopardy! employees that he was “honored” and “thrilled” to take over Trebek’s role. But he also said his “past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy!” that he couldn’t continue in the role any longer.