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Mike Richards is breaking his silence on the controversy surrounding his possible hiring as the next host of Jeopardy!.
Richards, the executive producer of Jeopardy!, on Monday wrote to the show's staff following reports that he's in "advanced negotiations" to succeed Alex Trebek as host, per The Ringer's Claire McNear. That news has been controversial among fans, both because of Richards' involvement in past discrmination lawsuits at The Price is Right and because of the perception that as producer, he essentially gave himself the coveted job.
Richards addressed both points of contention in the letter, confirming he was "humbled and deeply honored" to be asked to consider hosting Jeopardy! permenantly, but adding that "the choice on this is not my decision and never has been." He previously told The Wall Street Journal that the "heads of Sony" would make the final decision, though he also described being involved in finding guest hosts during the search for Trebek's replacement and even personally writing a job description. Richards was one of a number of people who temporarily hosted Jeopardy! this season, but reports that he might get the job permanently came as a surprise, as the frontrunner was widely thought to be former champion Ken Jennings.
Richards on Monday also addressed past discrimination lawsuits from when he was producer of The Price is Right. According to Variety, a former model for the show filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging Richards fired her because she became pregnant.
"The way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right," Richards said. "...I would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys."
Jeopardy! has yet to officially name Richards as host, and he said Monday that there are still ongoing discussions with multiple candidates.