New Jeopardy! host steps down in USA
Backlash over his past forces Mike Richards out just 9 days after being announced as host.
Just nine days after being announced as the new host of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards is out, after his past became embroiled in headlines.
Sony Pictures TV confirmed that Richards had agreed to step aside as host following reports over his past conduct and statements he made on an eight-year-old podcast.
In a statement, Richards said the backlash had created “too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.” He will remain the show’s executive producer.
The Anti-Defamation League had called for an investigation after a report that Richards made disparaging remarks about Jews, women and other groups in comedy podcast “The Randumb Show” recorded in 2013 and 2014.
Variety reports Sony concluded that Richards’ image was too battered for him to take the helm of one of television’s most prestigious and popular brands.
Richards was named permanent host on August 11, with Mayim Bialik to host primetime specials and a spinoff series.
Recent guest hosts had included LeVar Burton, former champs David Faber, Buzzy Cohen and Ken Jennings. Other names in the mix had reportedly were Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Mayim Bialik, Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Oz, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts and Joe Buck.
Here is Richards’ full statement:
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.
Sony said in a statement: “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. 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.”
Jeopardy! airs in Australia on SBS VICELAND and FOX Classics.