Mike Richards Out as ‘Jeopardy!’ Executive Producer
It’s the end of an era that frankly didn’t even last long enough to qualify as a full-blown era. Whatever you want to call it, it’s over now.
In recent weeks, the normally quiet corner of the pop culture universe occupied by Jeopardy! has been embroiled in one controversy after another, after the full-time job of replacing the late Alex Trebek as host was given to the show’s executive producer, Mike Richards. Richards’ announcement was met with some surprise, given that, as executive producer, he was nominally the person in charge of finding the Trebek’s replacement, and could have potentially biased the process in his favor. (Sony, the owners of Jeopardy!, denied that he did.)
Then Richards’ found himself in even more trouble when The Ringer published a report about a podcast he had hosted several years ago that was full of insensitive sexist comments. Richards apologized for the remarks, but amidst mounting pressure, he quit the job as the new Jeopardy! host after taping just one week of episodes.
Somehow, despite all the controversy, Richards managed to keep his job as the executive producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune — until today. 11 days after Richards announced he was stepping down as Jeopardy! host he’s now lost his job as the EP of both shows. According to a memo to the show’s staff from Sony’s Suzanne Prete, the company “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.” His removal is “effective immediately.”
Richards had first gotten the prestigious position producing Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune at the start of the 2020 season, just a few months before Trebek’s death. Previously, he had been the producer of The Price Is Right, and had hosted several other game shows, including Beauty and the Geek.
Michael Davies, Richards’ interim replacement, is a longtime producer on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, so he has plenty of game show experience. With Richards out as host as well, Mayim Bialik, who was originally announced as the host of a new series of Jeopardy! primetime specials, will serve in his place until a (new) permanent host is found.