The skeletons keep coming out of the closet for Jeopardy! executive producer and newly appointed host Mike Richards.
If you predicted that the quest to find a replacement for longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek would be a relentless nightmare, the congrats! You may be smart enough to compete on Jeopardy! Since Mike Richards, the executive producer who was at least partially involved with finding a new host, revealed that he himself had gotten the job, there’s been waves upon waves of blacklash. And there’s been lots of troubling reports about Richards’ past behavior. Now it turns out there was once an entire podcast that was him saying questionable things.
A new report by Ringer delves into The Randumb Show, which Richards hosted from 2013 to 2014. There are 41 episodes — or there were, because all suddenly vanished on Tuesday. It sounds like there was a reason why: According to the site, Richards “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies.”
In one, recorded after the infamous 2014 Cloud hack, which resulted in numerous female celebrities having private pictures made public, he lewdly asked his two younger female co-hosts — his former assistant Beth Triffon and his then-current assistant Jen Bisgrove — if they’d ever taken nude photos.
Women’s bodies, Ringer explains, were “recurring subjects” on the show. He often critiques their appearances, holding up Elisabeth Hasselbeck, former co-host of The View and Fox & Friends, as his ideal. “She’s, like, kind of my type,” he said in one episode. “You know—blond, good-looking.”
He also discusses his female co-hosts’ bodies. When Triffon talked about auditioning for some acting roles, Richards told her that, because of her height, she should go for Taiwanese parts. In one episode, after seeing a photo of Triffon beside two friends at a lake, he criticizes their one-piece swimwear, saying they “look really frumpy and overweight,” and that one-pieces are “genuinely unattractive.” That prompted this exchange:
Triffon: It’s so funny because no one’s overweight.
Richards: But they all look terrible in the picture. They look fat and not good in the picture. It’s bad. You look great. You look like a Sports Illustrated model, and then you’ve got one-piece malones on either side of you, which are just horrible.
Triffon: I can’t wait till you meet my roommate, because she’s literally gonna be like, walk up to you in a bag and be like, “Hey.”
Richards: “Hey, what’s up? I’m wearing a smock.” And then I’m gonna give her a smack.
Sony, who runs Jeopardy!, said they were unaware that the podcast existed. Richards, when contacted by Ringer, called the podcast a “terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago.” He apologized for the things he said, saying, “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.”
There’s a lot of damning comments and exchanges in Ringer’s report, including him admitting something about the show he will soon start hosting. “See, what I am is horrible at all trivia,” Richards said in an episode that featured Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings. “It doesn’t even matter if it’s a specific area I should know. I don’t have that kind of mind.” In the same episode he admitted, “If I had gotten on Jeopardy!—well, I never would have gotten on Jeopardy!, let’s be square.”
Even though the New York Times reports Richards “moved aside after he emerged as a candidate,” the validity of the search has still been called into question.