Mike Richards, who was recently announced as the frontrunner to take over the late Alex Trebek’s hosting duties for Jeopardy!, has stepped down. This comes after Richards faced backlash for not only past discrimination lawsuits he was named in during his tenure as a producer for The Price Is Right but also for controversial comments he made during his podcast.
Just a few short weeks after it was announced that Mike Richards would become the first new permanent host of Jeopardy! following the death of long-time, beloved host Alex Trebek, Richards has stepped down. This decision follows several weeks of controversy for Richards after his past involvement in discrimination lawsuits filed against the previous game show he produced, The Price Is Right. The hits kept coming for Richards after controversial comments he made during his podcast, The Randumb Show, between 2013 and 2014.
Though Richards apologized for the comments, he still ultimately decided to take his name out of the running. In a statement posted to Twitter, he wrote to his Jeopardy! team, “It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.” Though he’d been “deeply honored” to be asked to host the show, “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,” Richards continued, “I will be stepping down as host effective immediately.” Production for today will be canceled, the message continued, and guest hosts will be brought back in order to continue production on the new season, the details of which will be announced next week.
In conclusion, Richards wrote, “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.” The search for a permanent host will continue, it appears. Hopefully, the next choice will be a better fit for the iconic trivia game show.