It appears that the syndicated TV game show Jeopardy! continues to be in … jeopardy. According to Variety, Mike Richards, the executive producer of the show, has been fired. Although I doubt few people will be shocked by this news, it is still a fairly swift decision after Richards was fired as the show’s new host a little over a week ago. At that time, Richards recorded a week’s worth of episodes in one day (per usual for the show) for the 38th season and then immediately stepped down as host. Sony Pictures Television said that it would continue to use guest hosts to continue production of the show, beginning with Mayim Bialik who had already been assigned as host for the various primetime specials and spinoff series planned for ABC.
“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,” said Suzanne Prete, executive vice president, business and strategy in a statement. “That clearly has not happened.”
The new season of Jeopardy! is set to begin airing on September 13. At this time, it is unclear if Richard’s episodes will be shown or not.
Until this year, most viewers had never even heard of Richards unless they happened to catch his name listed on the show’s credits. After working as executive producer for Price is Right and Let’s Make a Deal, Richards took over the same role for Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune after Harry Friedman stepped down and Sony had been very grateful for Richard’s involvement.
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.
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 didn’t help either. Richards then stepped down as the show’s host saying in a statement that “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.”
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