Update August 31: Mike Richards has been fired as “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” executive producer, following his decision to step down as host on August 20. Suzanne Prete, the EVP of Business and Strategy, for both shows, issued the following note to staff, per Deadline:
I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel and Jeopardy! effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.
Michael Davies from Embassy Row has agreed to help with production on an interim basis until further notice. Michael and I will work together with all of you in the weeks ahead to ensure that production remains on schedule and we do not miss a beat as we head into the new season.
I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks. As Ravi mentioned last week, I will be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward and I am looking forward to working closely with all of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.
The below was published upon Richards’ stepping down as host on August 20.
Just nine days after he was selected to succeed Alex Trebek as the new host of “Jeopardy!,” Mike Richards has stepped down from the post. Richards, who serves as an executive producer on the popular game show, faced scrutiny after numerous past controversies resurfaced in weeks past. In a memo sent to staff, Richards wrote the following:
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.
Per a statement from Sony (below), Richards is staying on as executive producer.
On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into his “pattern” of offensive remarks in a statement posted on Twitter: “New Jeopardy! host Mike Richards’ disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians are no laughing matter. Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm. This reported pattern warrants an investigation.”
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.
Also resurfaced was a sexual harassment complaint from 2010 alleging that Richards discriminated against a staffer when she became pregnant with twins.
— Lesley Goldberg (@Snoodit) August 20, 2021