Well, that certainly didn’t last long. Just over a week after Mike Richards was announced as the new host of Jeopardy, he will now step down from the role.
Following the passing of Alex Trebec, longtime host of the TV game show Jeopardy, the series began the search for a new permanent host. Many fans campaigned for former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton, or longtime Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings. Instead, the studio announced Richards, who executive produces the game show.
However, Richards’ hosting tenure proved wildly short-lived. After his appointment, reports circulated about past comments Richards made on his podcast The Randumb Show, in which he made sexist and offensive remarks about women, Hatians, and Jewish people. The podcast episodes have since been taken down, but you can read about Richards’ comments in this report by The Ringer.
The Anti-Defamation League, among others, called upon the series to remove Richards from the hosting position. Today, Richards released an internal memo announcing he would step down from the position.
“I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence,” reads the memo in part.
Sony Pictures Television, which produces the game show, announced they supported Richards stepping down as host. The studio also noted he would remain an executive producer on Jeopardy.
“We support Mike’s decision to step down as host,” a Sony spokesperson said. “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. Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
The game show plans to continue to film episodes with guest hosts until a new full-time replacement host is chosen.
You can read Richards’ full statement below.
Statement from Mike Richards
It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.
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.
SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.
I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.