Mike Richards Out as ‘Jeopardy!’ Host
Mike Richards is stepping down as the host of Jeopardy! before he even officially started in the gig.
Just last week 'Jeopardy!' announced the show's longtime executive producer, Mike Richards, would take over the reins of hosting the popular game show in the upcoming season.
Production was about to begin for this season, but Sony Pictures Television confirmed Friday morning that Richards has stepped down after derogatory comments he made on a podcast resurfaced earlier this week.
In the comments on the Randumb Show in 2013, Richards mocked women's weight even called one model a "booth slut," and praised the "average white guy host." Sony says they weren't aware of the comments until they were made public by The Ringer earlier this week.
"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," Richards said in a statement issued to the program's staff on Friday.
Richards is likely to stay on as the show's executive producer, however.
“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," Sony Pictures Television wrote in a statement on Friday. "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.”
A search for a permanent host will begin, and in the meantime, it looks the upcoming season will begin with guest hosts once again.
"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," Richards told the show's staff on Friday.