Before being named a permanent host of the show earlier this month – set to tackle the regular play while Mayim Bialik would host special spin-off events – Richards was an executive producer of the popular game show and served as a guest host after Alex Trebek’s passing.
After it was reported that Richards was a frontrunner to take over the position, several scandals came to light, most notably his demoralizing comments made about women, Jewish people and the unemployed community previously made on a podcast. He was also named in a discrimination lawsuit while working as a producer on “The Price is Right.”
Not long after, he stepped down from the position, “Jeopardy!” had slightly signaled that he’d retain his position as an executive producer. In a statement earlier this week, Sony had said, “Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
Now, the New York Times is reporting that it has spoken with several sources, who were briefed on the situation in a call with Sony’s top television executive, Ravi Ahuja. The insiders confirmed to the outlet that it appears Richards is not losing his executive producing job.
Mike Richards will remain an executive producer of ‘Jeopardy!’ despite stepping down as host last week, according to a new report. (Getty Images)
Per the insiders, Ahuja praised Richards’ decision to step down as a host on the call.
It was also shared that the former host – who recorded a handful of episodes that will still air before Bialik once again takes over while the search for a host resumes – will undergo sensitivity training.
Richards’ own spokesperson reportedly confirmed that the producer is not negotiating an exit from Sony, and is “committed to continuing as the executive producer of ‘Jeopardy!’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune.’”
Sony has hired business and legal affairs executive Suzanne Prete to help oversee both the show and Richards’ training – but the sources told the Times that Prete was hired before Richards stepped down.
A few fans of “Jeopardy!” spoke to the Times and said that Richards retaining his position has tarnished their view of the show.
“If it was enough to disqualify him from being host, why isn’t it enough to disqualify him from being executive producer?” asked one.
“It tarnished the reputation of the show for me,” admitted another who had taken the entrance exam for the show several times but is now considering his dream of appearing on the program.
Mike Richards (left) was named the host of the show’s regular play while Mayim Bialik (right) is set to host the spin-off events. Bialik will host a number of episodes as the search for a host continues. (Getty Images)
He added: “Jeopardy!’ is supposed to be a celebration of knowledge, and it’s being run by this guy who’s the personification of ignorance.”
However, Richards has supporters as well, including Gwendolyn Osborne, a model who worked on “The Price is Right” for over a decade and had no issues with the producer.
“I have reached out to him to tell him to continue to believe in his greatnesses, and that I do believe that everybody is worthy of redemption,” she said.