He is now unemployed after it was revealed that Mike Richards, the newly appointed presenter of Jeopardy, had a history of abuse and scandals with him. Fans of the show who are suspicious of Richards’ ability to carry on his legacy and popularity can breathe a sigh of relief.
The Ringer reported earlier this week that Richards had made derogatory comments about women, Jews and other marginalized groups in the past. These appear on his former podcast “The Randumb Show” in 2013 and 2014. Richards, who was executive producer at Jeopardy, confirmed in a statement that he was out. He said the report and the story that came to light were “too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show”.
He remains Executive Producer of Jeopardy.
Sony Pictures, who originally selected Richards for his “neutral” image, said they were surprised to learn of his previous actions.
“Mike has been with us for two years and has the ‘Jeopardy!’ Team through the toughest time the show has ever seen. It is our hope that as [Executive Producer] he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect, ”said Sony.
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Richards’ initial attitude sparked a backlash from fans of the show who felt that his neutral personality was exactly what the show didn’t need. After the death of beloved host Alex Trebeck, a wide variety of personalities entered including Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Ken Jennings, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Aaron Rodgers.
Many suggested that Richards secured the job from the guest hosts, including Mayim Bialik, who will continue her role as co-host of the show for Primetime and other Jeopardy special shows.
“I knew, both Mike and I knew. So there was a leak last week, don’t worry, ”she explained on her August 4th Instagram video. “Everything is fine, everything is fine. That is the plan. Sony is very very nice to do this the way they did. It’s really nice. ”
After Trebeck’s death, fans loudly demanded that longtime book-loving LeVar Burton be given the chance to host the show, and in April Sony Pictures offered him the chance. Reports point to a petition from Jeopardy viewers as part of the decision. Unlike other innkeepers, however, Burton only had one week, from July 26th to 30th, instead of the other two. Some have speculated that because of this shorter trial period, he was not given the opportunity to excel in the role.
And if Bialik’s video is true, Richards was chosen to host well before the end of Burton’s tenure.
For the time being, the search is running again. Mayiam Bialik will remain in office while the company searches for a replacement for Richards. Whether they will listen to the fans and their desire to see LeVar grow and learn how to master the lectern for the show remains to be seen.
You can put your skills to the test and see how you would fare on the show with our selection of Bookish Jeopardy answers here, here, and here.