The unraveling saga surrounding who will succeed the late Alex Trebek as host of the game show “Jeopardy!” remains a neverending fiasco. Basically, anyone who takes the post is setting themselves up for failure (including incoming interim host Mayim Bialik). The fall of Mike Richards — still an executive producer on the show — as a very short-lived host has been swift, with the EP firing himself from the show after past allegations of harassment and racism surfaced. In a new report out of The Daily Beast, some former champions are saying that Richards intentionally sabotaged the show.
“It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror and shooting yourself in the face. … You couldn’t intentionally sabotage the show worse than this,” 11-time champion Arthur Chu said.
Chu described Richards as “another problematic showbiz guy with a very well-paying job behind the camera.”
“Jeopardy!” alumna Anneke Garcia also told The Daily Beast that Richards getting to take on hosting duties was merely “about a show business guy getting to do what he wants” instead of actually finding the best person to replace Trebek.
Five-time champion Kristin Sausville said, “I think the main feeling of the community right now is: betrayed.”
“When her episodes first aired and the positive feedback began rolling in, Garcia told The Daily Beast she felt ‘so validated for being a nerd my whole life and making something good out of that,'” the story read. “After the Richards news, “It was like, ‘Oh wait, just kidding.’”
Sausville feels that Richards’ misogynistic comments could have a “chilling” effect on the future of the show.
“’Jeopardy!’ was a show that pretty much all of us had been wanting to be on for our entire lives,” Sausville said. “We trusted when we showed up on the set that we were going to be treated as equal and treated with respect, and we were.”
Ahead of Richards’ firing, a Ringer report shed light on sexist and offensive comments Richards made toward female co-hosts, as well as racist remarks, while hosting the podcast “The Randumb Show” in 2013 and 2014. Richards later apologized, and the podcasts were taken down. “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,” Richards said in a statement at the time.
“People don’t realize,” Chu said, “the behind-the-scenes stuff is as important as the on-camera stuff.”