Mike Richards, who stepped down after just nine days as the new host of “Jeopardy!” following revelations about inappropriate comments he made on podcasts several years ago, was fired Tuesday as executive producer of that game show and “Wheel of Fortune.”
The news came in a memo sent to the staffs of both game shows by Sony Pictures Television Executive Vice President Suzanne Prete.
“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of `Wheel’ and `Jeopardy!’ effective immediately,” Prete wrote in the memo. “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 production of both shows will remain on schedule.
“I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks,” she wrote. “… I will be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward and I am looking forward to working closely with all of you.”
The comments that sank Richards came on podasts in 2013 and 2014. According to The Ringer, Richards made disparaging remarks about women, little people, the mentally disabled and Jews during episodes of the “The Randumb Show.”
In addition, discrimination lawsuits filed by women who worked on “The Price is Right” — where Richards was executive producer from 2008 to 2018 — recently resurfaced.
Richards had already taped several “Jeopardy!” shows as the new host before he stepped down from the role, but he remained on board as an executive producer.
He issued an apology for “the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Richards is being replaced at least on a temporary basis by actress Mayim Bialik, who had been previously tapped to host prime-time and spin-off specials of “Jeopardy!” She was among a rotating cast of guests hosts who kept the show going as producers tried to fill the role held by the late Alex Trebek since its syndicated revival began in 1984.