Mike Richards was the host and executive producer of Jeopardy! for one day — now he’s neither. Last week, Richards stepped down as Alex Trebek’s replacement on the legendary game show following accusations of discrimination and resurfaced offensive comments made on a podcast.
Sony Pictures Television just told staff. See the full note below.
It comes after a turbulent few weeks for the long-running syndicated program, which saw Richards, who joined Jeopardy! as exec producer in 2020, ousted as host after one day of production.
Suzanne Prete, EVP, Business and Strategy, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, just sent an internal note to staff on these shows explaining that Richards would depart effective immediately with Embassy Row’s Michael Davies agreeing to help on an interim basis.
She said that they hoped that Richards exiting as host would have “minimized the disruption and internal difficulties” that they experienced over the last few weeks, but added that “clearly has not happened.”
Deadline understands that given all that has transpired over the last few weeks, it was clear that Richards’ position as EP has been too compromised for him to effectively continue in that role. It’s thought that given he doesn’t have the internal or external support that he needs to lead the team, his exit was in the best interests of the show.
Richards stepped down as host earlier this month following a Ringer report about insensitive and sexist comments Richards had made towards his female co-hosts and guests on The Randumb Show, a podcast he hosted in 2013 and 2014, along with off-color remarks about Haitians and Jews.
Last week, the staff and crew of the venerable game show were summoned for a Microsoft Teams meeting this morning, sources told Deadline. Richards apologized to his staff for the comments and addressed his team during the meeting, which was attended by Sony’s top TV executive, Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Sony Global Television Studios, who oversees the studio’s gameshow franchises and was in charge of the search for a permanent Jeopardy! host following the death of Alex Trebek. A similar virtual meeting was held with the staff of Sony’s Wheel of Fortune, which Richards also executive produces.
Full memo from Sony on the Mike Richards exit from Jeopardy!: pic.twitter.com/Va0jTgLrLp
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) August 31, 2021
A full-time host for Jeopardy! has not been announced yet.