Speed Reads

back to the drawing board

Mike Richards steps down as Jeopardy! host after offensive comments resurface

Just over a week after being hired, Mike Richards has already stepped down as Jeopardy! host. 

Richards, the executive producer of Jeopardy!, announced Friday he will no longer be the quiz show's new permanent host after a report from The Ringer revealed he made numerous offensive comments on resurfaced podcast episodes. 

"It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter," Richards said. "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." 

After a lengthy search for Alex Trebek's replacement that saw the quiz show bring in a series of guest hosts, Sony announced on Aug. 11 that Richards had been tapped for the gig, while The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik was also hired to host "primetime and spinoff series." Richards' selection was a surprise given that the frontrunner was thought to be former champion Ken Jennings, and it sparked questions over how involved he was as producer in the process that led to his hiring, as well as scrutiny of past discrimination lawsuits he was involved in. The controversy grew after The Ringer reported Wednesday that Richards "repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women's bodies" on podcast episodes from 2013 and 2014. 

Though the plan was for Jeopardy! to return in September with a new permanent host in place, Richards said the show will now "be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season," and Sony will "resume the search for a permanent syndicated host."