Mike Richards will no longer serve as executive producer of Jeopardy!
The announcement came Tuesday morning in a memo to the game show’s staff from top brass at Sony Pictures Television.
“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,” Suzanne Prete, executive vice president of Business and Strategy for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, wrote in the memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Richards’ firing is a stunning reversal from Aug. 11, when he was named permanent host to fill the shoes of the late Alex Trebek. Yet after weeks of scandals, including resurfaced past offensive comments about women, and the unearthing of two lawsuits from a previous job, the show decided to part ways with Richards.
His exit comes nine days after The Ringer published comments Richards made on his former podcast “The Randumb Show” from 2013 and 2014, which included mocking women for their weight, calling one model a “booth slut” and repeatedly praising “the average white-guy host.”
Richards was named permanent co-host of Jeopardy! alongside actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, but he stepped down on Aug. 20 from his role as host following an onslaught of public criticism that the selection process was rigged.
On Aug. 23, Bialik was named the sole guest host after Richards stepped down. He had already started taping new episodes of Jeopardy! before he was forced out as host, but remained on board as an executive producer.
Before joining Jeopardy! as executive producer in 2020, Richards worked as a co-executive producer on The Price Is Right.
During his tenure at The Price Is Right, the show was hit with two lawsuits. The first suit was for discrimination and the second was for sexual harassment. The plaintiffs included former Price Is Right model Brandi Cochran, who claimed in a 2010 complaint she was fired after becoming pregnant with twins. Cochran was awarded more than $8.5 million in damages. Richards was dismissed as a defendant in the sexual harassment suit.
Read the memo below about Richards’ departure from Jeopardy!:
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.