Mike Richards exits ‘Jeopardy!’ executive producer role
Credit to ABC News/Carson Blackwelder
Mike Richards is officially out as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” after recently stepping down as the quiz show’s new permanent host.
The news was shared with “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” staff Tuesday via an internal note from Suzanne Prete, the executive vice president of business and strategy for both game shows.
“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! effective immediately,” Prete wrote in the note, which was obtained by ABC News. “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. That clearly has not happened.”
Prete said Michael Davies from production company Embassy Row will be assisting with production “on an interim basis until further notice” and they will work together with the staff to “ensure that production remains on schedule” for the new season.
Prete ended the note by acknowledging that this has been “a challenging time for the entire team” and thanking them all for their “cooperation and professionalism” throughout the past few weeks.
Richards’ exit as executive producer closes out what has been a tumultuous month for the “Jeopardy!” brand. After having been announced as the late Alex Trebek’s successor on Aug. 11, he stepped down from hosting duties on Aug. 20.
Richards had come under fire for resurfaced controversial remarks he made on “The Randumb Show,” a podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014. A report from The Ringer exposed various disparaging comments he made about women, the recordings of which have since been deleted. Richards has apologized for the comments.
The report also brought to light a 2010 lawsuit in which a former model on “The Price Is Right,” during Richards’ tenure on that program, alleged her contract was not renewed after she gave birth. Of the discrimination case, which was settled out of court without any admission of wrongdoing, Richards said the allegations “don’t reflect the reality of who I am.”
“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 said in an internal note to “Jeopardy!” staff announcing his departure.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
The search is now on for a new permanent “Jeopardy!” host. In the meantime, guest hosts — who will be revealed at a later date — will take turns filling in. Mayim Bialik will be the first of these guest hosts.
The “Big Bang Theory” alum was announced as the new host for “Jeopardy!” primetime specials and spin-offs earlier this month.