CULVER CITY, Ca. (WROC) — Mike Richards has stepped down as the new host of ‘Jeopardy!’ just nine days after he was chosen to succeed Alex Trebrek.
The move comes after controversy over sexist comments he made on his podcast following a report from The Ringer.
Producer Sony Pictures Television announced the embattled host was stepping down from the role.
Claire McNear, of The Ringer and author of Answers in the Form of Questions: A definitive history and insider’s guide to Jeopardy!, broke the news on Twitter Friday:
Sony Pictures Television also said Richards would remain as the show’s executive producer, according to Variety.
“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,” Sony said.
It was announced on August 11 that Richards would become the full-time host of the long-running daily syndicated game show, but in the past few days he’s been facing scrutiny for past sexist comments he made on his podcast.
Richards, an executive producer for “Jeopardy!” “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” was accused of pregnancy discrimination in a 2010 lawsuit.
Over the course of the 41 episodes of “The Randum Show,” Richards frequently commented on women’s wardrobes and even one female employee’s weight. On the podcasts, he also asked a female assistant and a female cohost if they ever took nude photos, the Ringer reported. He referred to his cohost as a “booth ho.”
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry,” Richards said in a statement.
“The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around. Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.”
Richards was one of many guests hosts, which included “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton, legendary “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as the show searched for a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek.
Trebek hosted “Jeopardy!” for more than 36 years before his death in November at age 80 following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
It was recently revealed that Richards would handle the daily duties behind the podium while “Big Bang Theory” actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik would do primetime tournaments. The decision to go with the show’s EP left many fans scratching their heads and saying he basically gave himself the job.