Mike Richards Staying on 'Jeopardy!' as Executive Producer
Mike Richards isn’t staying behind the podium, but he’s still behind the camera. Despite the backlash that arose after he was announced as the new host of Jeopardy!, Richards will still be serving as the executive producer.
ET has learned that Mike Richards will stay on as executive producer of Jeopardy! and will take sensitivity training.
Sony’s head TV exec, Ravi Ahuja, reportedly told Jeopardy! staffers during a call on Monday that the network backed Richards to stay on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune despite the wave of negative press, and praised Richards for his willingness to step down as host shortly after being announced as the successor to the late Alex Trebek, The New York Times reports.
Richards has agreed to undergo sensitivity training, and a veteran Sony legal affairs executive has reportedly been tasked with overseeing Richards’ responsibilities behind the scenes.
ET has reached out to Richards and Sony for comment.
Richards, who was announced as the new permanent host earlier this month, announced his decision to step down as host in an internal note to staff on Aug. 20.
“Dear Team, 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,” his message read. “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.”
The news comes one day after Richards issued a statement saying he was “deeply sorry” for past controversial comments he made that were resurfaced by The Ringer. The outlet reported on his past controversies, including the podcast he started in 2013 called The Randumb Show. During the podcast, Richards made multiple questionable comments about women’s bodies, and comments that were seen as offensive involving stereotypes about Jewish people.
While ET learned that the five episodes of Jeopardy! that were taped last Thursday with Richards as host will air as scheduled, Sony Pictures Television has confirmed that Mayim Bialik — who was announced as the host of Jeopardy!‘s primetime specials and spinoffs earlier this month — will fill in as host of the Jeopardy! syndicated program this week.
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