Perhaps Mike Richards should have put his derogatory statements about women in the form of a question, because he barely got through one day of taping as the late, great Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement on the nightly version of Jeopardy! before he had to resign.
Just days after TV website The Ringer unearthed some unkind things Richards said in 2013-14 on his The Randumb Show podcast, he and his Sony Pictures Television bosses announced Friday that he’s already stepping down.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Richards—who also happens to be the show’s executive producer—finished shooting his first episodes on Thursday and the following morning informed his crew that his hosting days were over.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” he said in a statement, explaining that, although he was “deeply honored” to get the job, “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.”
In a separate statement, Sony said, “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past . . . It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
Some of the statements that dogged Richards from the podcast included calling his cohost and onetime tradeshow model Beth Triffon “booth ho” and “booth slut” and saying her friends were “really frumpy and overweight.” Richards also irked some folks by oft-praising “the average white guy host.”
If that talk alone didn’t do him in, Richards was also getting plenty of side-eye for winning the role despite fans rallying (perhaps hopelessly) behind more beloved guest hosts such as LeVar Burton, Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, and Savannah Guthrie, while Richards himself was leading the talent search as executive producer.
Regarding casting Richards in the first place, Sony Pictures’ chairman of global television studios, Ravi Ahuja, said on Wednesday, “We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show—deservedly so because it’s Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek.”
As the search for a new new nightly host commences, viewers can look forward to Jeopardy! primetime specials and spinoffs, where the universally adored and actually famous Mayam Bialik will be emceeing.
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