Jeopardy! now has not one, but two jobs to fill.
Mike Richards, who was briefly set to serve as Jeopardy!'s new host before promptly stepping down, is also out as the quiz show's executive producer. Executive Suzanne Prete announced Richards' exit in a note to staff Tuesday, also saying he will no longer serve as the executive producer of Wheel of Fortune, Variety reports.
"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," Prete said. "That clearly has not happened."
After a months-long search for Alex Trebek's replacement on Jeopardy!, Sony announced earlier this month that Richards, the show's executive producer, would be the new permanent daily host. The announcement prompted backlash, both because it created the perception that the head of the show was giving himself the coveted job, as well as because past discrimination lawsuits involving Richards resurfaced. After The Ringer subsequently resurfaced a series of offensive comments Richards made on old podcast episodes, he stepped down as host just over a week after his selection was announced.
But Richards was initially set to still remain in his job as executive producer, with Sony previously saying that "we have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward." That decision was described by The New York Times as a "show of defiance that has baffled Hollywood," and in his What I'm Hearing… newsletter, former Hollywood Reporter editor Matt Belloni reported that Sony was "bracing for additional reporting on Richards' past that is in the works via at least two media outlets."
Richards previously apologized for his past "thoughtlessness" and "insensitivity." Jeopardy! has yet to announce its new pick for permanent host, though The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik will serve as guest host for three weeks beginning next month.