(WTVO) — Mike Richards will step down as the new host of Jeopardy! after being announced as Alex Trebek’s replacement last week. His departure is due to sexist comments he made on his podcast in the past.
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 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,” Richardson wrote in a statement on Friday.
In a statement issued earlier this week, Richardson apologized for his comments, saying, “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.
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.
According to Richard’s statement via Sony on Friday, Jeopardy! will resume the search for a permanent host and will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production on the new season.