We’ll take “What’s next for Mike Richards?” for $500.
While we mean that as a rhetorical question, it’s a fair question considering that the producer and TV personality will not be stepping into Alex Trebek’s shoes as planned after all.
Earlier this month it was announced that Richards was essentially giving himself the job after 6 months of auditions from dozens of other celebrities.
Even though it was officially confirmed that he’d be sharing the gig with fan-favorite and The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik, the news still disappointed those who had fan-casted and rallied for LeVar Burton to get the job. Between his likability and previous stint as host of the similarly educational program Reading Rainbow, it honestly seemed like a no-brainer.
Nevertheless, disappointment is not what forced Richards to reconsider the job. Instead, it was a mix of allegations from previous female colleagues about inappropriate behavior and past controversial anti-semitic comments made on an old podcast that led Richards to make the “difficult” position.
In a memo he issued early Friday morning, Richards said:
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy as we look to start a new chapter. 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,” he continued. “As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
Production on the series was supposed to return back to normal this week with Richards in regular rotation. Now, as the network and Sony Pictures Television – the company producing the show – look for another replacement to spearhead the series alongside Bialik, the series will see more celebrities temporarily host the show in the meantime.
In a statement to EW, Sony said, “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host…Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
Though he’s unlikely to step in front of the camera again, Richards will still remain on as an executive producer of the show.
As the search for a new host continues, we’ll continue to provide updates on this story for be sure to follow The DisInsider!