Mike Richards steps down as 'Jeopardy!' host; search resumes

Mike Richards steps down as ‘Jeopardy!’ host; search resumes

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Mike Richards stepped down Friday as host of ‘Jeopardy!’ following reports of a number of inappropriate comments he made on a podcast that ran in 2013 and 2014.

Richards, the executive producer of the iconic quiz show, announced the change in a memo shared by the show’s production company Sony Pictures Television. He will remain in his production role.

As a result, the program will continue to search for a permanent host to replace Alex Trebek, who died in November.

“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 said in the memo.

“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.”

Sony Pictures Television will resume its search for a permanent host for the daily syndicated edition of the program. Actor Mayim Bialik was hired to host a series of prime time ‘Jeopardy!’ specials and spinoffs, and is likely now a serious contender for the full-time job.

The program will go back to using guest hosts for the time being, as production on the 2021-22 season has already begun.

Richards apologized 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.”

According to a report in the Ringer, Richards made comments disparaging Jews, little people and women in a podcast, “The Randumb Show,” which he co-hosted.

He had been able to skate past resurfaced reports on discrimination lawsuits filed by women who worked on “The Price Is Right,” where he was executive producer from 2008 to 2018.

Richards was given the job nine days ago after overseeing a search with many high-profile guest hosts. Richards also did a fill-in stint, and there was talk among insiders on the program — and highly critical fans — that he was positioning himself for the full-time role.

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