Nine days after being selected the next host of TV’s trivia game show, Jeopardy, Mike Richards is leaving the hosting gig, according to Variety. Sony Pictures TV, which produces the long-running series, announced today Richards decided to depart the hosting job as fallout from Richards’ past comments reached a fever pitch.
“We support Mike’s decision to step down as host,” Sony Pictures TV said in a statement via Variety. “We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward,” the production company said via Variety.
According to Variety, the news of Richards earning the coveted seat once filled by the late host, Alex Trebek, was quickly overshadowed by revelations of comments Richards made on a podcast he hosted eight years ago. A deep-diving article from The Ringer revealed Richards made several scathing and lewd comments toward women, Jews, and other groups as host of The Randumb Show podcast. Some of the comments he made included asking two female colleagues of the show if they ever took nude photos. He also referred to his woman co-host as a “booth ho.”
Earlier this week, Richards submitted an apology about his comments, via CNN:
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry,” Richards said in a statement to the Ringer. “The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around. Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.”
The Ringer’s article regarding the podcast comes only days after Richards faced backlash over his involvement in a lawsuit from his time as a producer on another game show, The Price is Right. According to CNN, Richards was accused of alleged volatile behavior toward women employees as an executive producer on the Drew Carey-hosted daytime game show. One of the women, Brandi Cochran, filed a lawsuit toward Richards for his alleged reaction to the news she was pregnant. The lawsuit was filed in 2010 and settled in 2016.
Variety details Sony believes Richards is too embattled to become the face of the beloved TV show. However, Richards will remain with the show as an executive producer. Richards’ single day of filming will kick off the next season of Jeopardy on September 13. Sony will then return to various guest hosts until a permanent individual is found.