Mike Richards — who just nine days ago was named the new host of the game show “Jeopardy” — announced Friday that he is stepping down from that role after a series of inappropriate comments he made on podcasts several years ago came to light.
Richards, the executive producer of the iconic quiz program, will remain in a production role — but he announced Friday that he will be leaving as host “effective immediately.”
He made the announcement in a memo to the show’s staff that was shared by Sony Pictures Television, the show’s production company.
As a result, the show will halt production and then resume using guest hosts, who had been filling the role following the November death of longtime host Alex Trebek.
Meantime, Richards said, the show will again search for a permanent host.
“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 wrote.
“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.
“As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
He said an announcement on the guest hosts and the resumption of production will be made next week.
Richards also said, “I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
The comments that sank Richards came on podcasts in 2013 and 2014. According to The Ringer, Richards made disparaging remarks about women, little people, the mentally disabled and Jews during episodes of “The Randumb Show.”
In addition, discrimination lawsuits filed by women who worked on “The Price is Right” — where Richards was the executive producer from 2008 to 2018 — recently resurfaced.