Mike Richards is out as executive producer of Jeopardy!, times just after he stepped down as the quiz show’s recently appointed successor to beloved host Alex Trebek because of earlier misogynistic and disparaging remarks.
Richards also will no extended provide as govt producer of Wheel of Fortune, according to a Tuesday e-mail to personnel that was confirmed by Sony Photographs Television, which produces the two exhibits.
“We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host situation at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and inside issues we have all expert these previous couple of months. That evidently has not happened,” Suzanne Prete, a Sony executive with the game demonstrates, explained in the memo.
“That clearly has not occurred.”
Anointing Richards as successor to the much-admired Trebek, who died in November 2020 of issues from pancreatic cancer, was a questionable and divisive decision to fans, particularly because the studio experienced carried out a splashy lookup with guest hosts that integrated actors, athletics figures, journalists — and Richards.
Not extensive after being named host on Aug. 11, revelations surfaced that Richards had created demeaning comments about ladies, the homeless and others on episodes of a 2013-14 podcast. Pop culture website The Ringer published an short article detailing the comments on Aug. 18.
The lag in between Richards’ Aug. 20 conclusion to move down as host and Sony’s announcement Tuesday was loaded with speculation about why the studio was keeping him on as a producer. Jeopardy! fans called him unsuitable for the honored exhibit, and there were being studies of dissatisfaction by staffers.
Richards ‘damaged items,’ PR professional says
“Richards has been perceived as damaged goods considering the fact that the instant the scandal broke,” mentioned crisis public relations pro Eden Gillott, referring to Richards’ podcast remarks.
“It’s shocking that Sony saved Richards on as govt producer for as extended as it did.”
In accordance to Prete’s Tuesday memo, Michael Davies, the founder of Sony Pics Television’s bi-coastal output company Embassy Row who creates ABC’s Who Desires to Be a Millionaire will act as an interim producer until finally further detect.
Prete also noted that she herself would be much more involved in the working day-to-working day functioning of equally Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune relocating ahead.
James Holzhauer, a Jeopardy! champion who mocked Richards when he 1st surrendered the host occupation, weighed in Tuesday.
“Do I consider Mike Richards’s podcast responses ended up ideal for polite culture? No. But did he are entitled to the gain of the doubt for the career he did jogging Jeopardy? Also no,” Holzhauer tweeted.
Do I feel Mike Richards’s podcast comments had been suitable for polite culture? No. But did he have earned the gain of the doubt for the position he did jogging Jeopardy? Also no
The limited-lived Richards era caught the notice of comedian W. Kamau Bell, who hosts CNN’s United Shades of The us.
“I seriously want the Tiger King style documentary on this total factor,” Bell posted on Twitter.
Bialik filling in as host
Richards experienced signed an in general enhancement deal with Sony in 2019, and was announced as government producer of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in May perhaps 2020.
He speedily became controversial when he went from guiding-the-scenes to Sony’s decide for long-lasting host of Jeopardy!
Questions were raised about regardless of whether Richards, in his position as producer, experienced put his finger on the scale in favour of himself, and whether or not he had the gravitas that was viewed in other candidates, these as enthusiast favourite LeVar Burton. Other guest hosts included Savannah Guthrie, Aaron Rodgers and former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings.
The choice to bypass a particular person of color or a woman for the flagship present also was criticized, though actress Mayim Bialik, a further celebrity guest host, was named as the host of prime-time Jeopardy! specials and has been filling in as the host of syndicated episodes due to the fact Richards’ exit.
Sony declared very last week that the actress had been scheduled to tape three weeks of episodes when creation resumed for a total 15 episodes. More visitor hosts will be declared at a later on date.
To manage continuity with the contestants who won for the duration of his quick hosting stint, the episodes that Richards taped are scheduled to air when the exhibit returns for its 38th time starting off Sept. 13.
Renewed consideration to past lawsuits
Richards mainly experienced match reveals and reality displays on his resume, but Jeopardy! is extensively regarded as some thing much more: A contest that adheres to civility and is gained on the foundation of understanding, and which had extensive been stewarded by the dignified Trebek.
Following Richards’ remarks on his The Randumb Show podcast were reported, the ensuing furor prompted him to stage down, saying in a statement that keeping on as host would be “far too a great deal of a distraction for our followers” and erroneous for the show.
On the podcast, Richards made use of derogatory, crude language about women of all ages and their bodies and disparaged the homeless, amid other folks.
There also was renewed attention to Richards and his tenure as a producer on The Rate is Right from 2009 to 2018.
Various lawsuits against the show had been submitted by former types who alleged discriminatory behaviour, like a single that named Richards. He reportedly was dropped from the suit before a settlement was attained.
When Richards exited as host, Sony mentioned the podcasts and their contents came as a shock, vowing to hold him to a standard of “professionalism and respect” as producer.
That Sony failed to correctly scrutinize Richards from the commence was unsupportable, reported Gillott, the disaster PR expert.
The studio “made turmoil in just the corporation since it did not talk to the proper issues in its research for a host, hesitated in responding to the controversy, and failed to sever all ties swiftly,” she reported.