Mike Richards — who was once primed to be Alex Trebek’s successor on Jeopardy! — is out as the executive producer of that show and Wheel of Fortune, The New York Times reports.
Sony Pictures Television announced that Richards would leave his post Tuesday, August 31st. It’s a surprising reversal that comes after the company appeared to back Richards to stick around behind-the-scenes after a series of controversies forced him to relinquish his role as the new Jeopardy! host.
“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,” said Sony executive Suzanne Prete in a memo to staff. “That clearly has not happened.”
Michael Davies, an executive producer on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, is set to take over for Richards in the interim, per Variety.
Richards began working as an executive producer on Jeopardy! in 2019 and was announced as the game show’s new host at the beginning of August. He was set to take over the daily syndicated program, while actress Mayim Bialik was tapped to helm primetime specials and spinoffs. But Richards immediately found himself under fire: First he was forced to respond to allegations of pregnancy discrimination related to a lawsuit from 10 years ago, while later he had to issue another apology after The Ringer uncovered a number of derogatory comments he made between 2013 and 2014 about women, Jews and people receiving unemployment on a podcast.
Richards had already taped one week’s worth of Jeopardy! episodes before he stepped down as host, and those episodes are still set to air the week of September 13th. Sony has resumed its search for a new permanent host, and Bialik will be the first guest host to fill in for Richards as that search continues.