‘Hazard!’ Producer Mike Richards resigns as incoming presenter
“Danger!” Executive producer Mike Richards will no longer serve as the next host of the long-running quiz show after controversial comments from him surfaced earlier this week.
The Ringer reported that Richards made abusive comments about women, Jewish people, and people with intellectual disabilities in a podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014.
Planned production of the next season of “Jeopardy!” has been temporarily canceled and the search for a permanent replacement for the late Alex Trebek continues. Richards said the guest hosts will be returning so production of the current season can continue.
“I would like to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention, the Jeopardy! for the past few weeks, and for the confusion and delay this is causing, “Richards said in a memo to the show staff on Friday. “I know I still have a lot to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Sony has confirmed that Richard will remain executive producer on the series.
Mike Richards accepts the Outstanding Game Show Award for Jeopardy! during the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, which will air on June 25, 2021.
Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
“We support Mike’s decision to resign as a host,” the company said in a statement on Friday. “We talked to him about our concerns and expectations that will help us move forward.”
Mayim Bialik, who was named alongside Richards last week, will host her role as “Jeopardy!” Prime-time and spin-off series.
The Ringer made detailed derogatory statements from Richards about “The Randumb Show” earlier this week. The 41-episode podcast was taken offline Tuesday after being contacted by The Ringer for comment on the show.
On Thursday, Richards, 46, admitted “thoughtlessness” and “insensitivity”.
This is not the first time the executive producer has been scrutinized, as rumors had been circulating since the beginning of this month that he was the new “Jeopardy!” Host.
Brandi Cochran filed a 2010 discrimination lawsuit against CBS and FremantleMedia during Richard’s tenure as executive producer of “The Price is Right.” The lawsuit alleged the model was not re-invited to the show after taking time off because of her pregnancy. The case was eventually settled, but Richards faced other pregnancy discrimination lawsuits beyond Cochran that were unsuccessful.
In addition, many questioned Richards’ qualifications for the hosting gig, as well as his influence on the process in selecting Trebek’s replacement.
“Danger!” cycled through a number of innkeepers since Trebek died in November. Potential permanent replacements for Trebek included Ken Jennings, a writer with the longest winning streak on “Jeopardy!” Story; Journalist Katie Couric, professional football star Aaron Rodgers, news anchor Anderson Cooper, CNBC financial journalist David Faber and actor LeVar Burton.
The Ringer reported that as the show’s EP, Richards was in control of almost every aspect of the final season of “Jeopardy! Test groups for evaluation.
Here is the statement on CNBC that Richards shared with the Jeopardy staff on Friday morning:
It pains me that these incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy in the past! how we want to start a new chapter.
As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to have been asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled to have the opportunity to expand my role. However, in the last few days it has become clear that progressing as hosts would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right step for the show. Therefore, I will resign as host with immediate effect. For this reason we will stop production today.
SPT will now continue to search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we’ll be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, the details of which will be announced next week.
I would like to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that Jeopardy has received! over the past few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is causing now. I know I still have a lot to do to regain your trust and confidence.