‘Jeopardy!’ producer Mike Richards leaves show in wake of offensive comments

The producer has completely exited the US quiz show, weeks after first stepping back as its new host

Mike Richards has been ousted as executive producer of 'Jeopardy!', days after he stepped down as the quiz show’s newly appointed host because of past comments. AP
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Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, who stepped down as the show's host after only nine days following a sexism row, has been removed from the long-running US television quiz entirely.

Richards had been named to replace Alex Trebek, who died of cancer in 2020, but his tenure in the presenting slot was cut short by controversy over past employment discrimination lawsuits and the emergence of disparaging comments he made involving several women.

Sony Pictures Television informed employees on Tuesday that Richards "will no longer be serving as (executive producer) of Wheel [of Fortune] and Jeopardy! effective immediately".

"We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimised the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks," wrote executive Suzanne Prete.

"That clearly has not happened."

Richards, 46, had been owing to share hosting duties with The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik, following a long hunt for Trebek's replacement.

But days after the decision was announced, comments Richard had made about women on a podcast eight years ago drew criticism of the producer's appointment.

Sports and pop culture website The Ringer trawled through episodes of The Randumb Show, a podcast Richards hosted between 2013 and 2014, finding a number of comments relating to women and nudity.

Renewed media attention was also drawn to employment discrimination lawsuits filed by women when Richards was executive producer of The Price is Right.

Richards apologised in August for the negative attention brought to Jeopardy!.

Prete said production of future episodes "remains on schedule" and that she would "be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward" along with former Wife Swap producer Michael Davies.

Bialik will temporarily host the syndicated shows and remains set to take charge of special primetime events and spin-offs, including a new collegiate championship.

Jeopardy! has been running in one form or another on US television since 1964, scooping up a bevy of awards over the decades.

In a twist on the quiz show format, contestants are given answers, to which they must provide the question.

Updated: September 01, 2021, 6:48 AM