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August 20, 2021 12:15 pm

New ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Quits After Backlash to String of Past Derogatory Comments

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The “Jeopardy!” logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Mike Richards “stepped down” as the new host of “Jeopardy!” on Friday, one day into filming the game show’s new season and after the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said he should be investigated for making offensive remarks about Jews, women and others.

“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on ‘Jeopardy!’ as we look to start a new chapter,” Richards, 46, said in a memo Friday morning. “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 also wrote that Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produces “Jeopardy!”, will continue searching for a permanent host for the long-running syndicated show. He said, “In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.” He also told the “Jeopardy!” staff, “I want to apologize to each of you 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, who was announced as the host of “Jeopardy!” just last week, will stay on as the show’s executive producer, Sony Pictures Entertainment said. Filming for the show’s new season was cancelled on Friday and it remains unclear what will happen to footage that Richards filmed on Thursday.

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The announcement came after The Ringer revealed on Wednesday that Richards made a string of controversial comments about Jews, women, people with mental disabilities, little people and the poor while hosting the podcast “The Randumb Show” from 2013 to 2014, during the time he worked at “The Price is Right.” Richards said this week he was “deeply sorry” for what he said on the podcast.

On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into Richards’ past offensive remarks. The organization said on Twitter: “New ‘Jeopardy!’ host Mike Richards’ disparaging remarks about Jews, women & Asians are no laughing matter. Stereotyping is an entry point to hate and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm. This reported pattern warrants an investigation.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced last week that Richards would be the successor to former “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who died last year, and Jewish actress and “Big Bang Theory” alum Mayim Bialik will host “Jeopardy!” primetime and spinoff series. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Sony has been criticized for allowing Richards, the show’s executive producer, to help lead the search for a host to replace Trebek, which ended up being himself.

Richards previously worked on  “Let’s Make a Deal” and hosted several shows, including “Beauty and the Geek” and “Pyramid.”

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