One day in and Jeopardy! is already looking for a another hosts. Mike Richards recorded one week’s worth of episodes for the 38th season yesterday and then immediately stepped down this morning reports Variety. But is anyone really surprised?
After a full year of celebrity substitute hosts for America’s #1 game show including the likes of Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos and super-champ Ken Jennings, the show’s executive producer was announced as the syndicated show’s permanent host on August 11th. Former Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik was also announced as host to various primetime specials and spinoff series for ABC.
Finding the perfect person to to replace the iconic Alex Trebek, who passed away last November at the age of 80, has been a monumental task. According to Variety, Sony Pictures, which produces the show, thought that Richards’ had a “neutral personality” and felt that he wouldn’t “overshadow” the show. Boy did they get that wrong.
First of all, many fans of the shows were not a fan of Richard’s presentation during his two-week stint as guest host and many voiced their support for LeVar Burton to host the show. Then Richad’s past came back to haunt him.
Back in 2010 and 2011, while working on Price is Right, a number of the show’s models accused Richard of discriminating them for becoming pregnant while they worked on the show. But is was the disparaging statements he made about Jews and women on the podcast The Randumb Show in 2013 and 2014 that did him in. The fact that the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into the matter yesterday didn’t help either.
Though Richards will continue to his role as executive producer, he made an official statement earlier today that said in part that the “past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy!” and “moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans.”
In an earlier statement, Richards said that on the podcast he had attempted to be funny and provocative but they were not acceptable and he is now pledging to live up to his obligations as a role model. However, he didn’t apologize for his bad behavior in today’s statement. He only apologized for the “unwanted negative attention” but did admit that he has “a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
The statement also said that Jeopardy! will continue to use guest hosts to continue production of the show.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.