Mike Richards addressed his involvement with discrimination lawsuits after fan backlash almost cost him his job as Jeopardy host. The 46-year-old former producer of The Price is Right and Let’s Make a Deal claims he had no involvement in the lawsuits.
It was recently announced that Mike Richards is the frontrunner to be the Jeopardy host following the tragic passing of Alex Trebek. The show has had a series of guest hosts following Alex’s passing while executives searched for a permanent replacement. Guest hosts have included Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, and Ken Jennings, who is the show’s highest winning contestant. He participated in an impressive 74 days of gameplay back in 2004 and won over $2.52 million.
There is no way to tell whether the allegations against Mike Richards will affect his hiring for the Jeopardy host job. At the moment, he is still considered a frontrunner to be the game show host.
In a memo to his office, Richards wrote that “it is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing.”
The lawsuits, which took place between 2008 and 2013, claimed that Richards and other members of The Price Is Right staff treated model Brandi Cochran differently after she announced her pregnancy. Accusations also claimed staff members were verbally abusive toward the model Lanisha Cole.
In Cochran’s lawsuit, the model alleged that Mike Richards told another girl that she would get more work because of Cochran’s pregnancy. She also said that following her maternity leave she tried to rejoin the show but her position had been terminated.
The model was originally scared to tell the producers that she was pregnant with twins. She claims that after she told them, Richards came up to her and said “Twins? Are you kidding? Are you serious?” Richards says that he did no such thing and that his connection to the lawsuits doesn’t reflect who he is.
In an alleged office memo to his staff, he talked about the joy that those pregnancies brought to The Price is Right. “I am very proud of my time on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal,” he wrote. “During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera. It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.”
Cochran was awarded more than $8 million for her lawsuit back in 2008 until a Los Angeles Superior Court judge overturned the ruling. Cochran and the producers of The Price is Right settled the issue out of court.
In the Cole lawsuit, the model claimed that Richards was verbally abusive toward her and at one point refused to speak to her on set. He was even giving other models and workers notes to pass to Cole instead of speaking to her directly. Richards was dropped by the defense and the lawsuit was settled in 2013.
With these allegations appearing in the news again, fans of the show are wondering if it will affect Richards’ chance of becoming the Jeopardy host. Many fans are hoping that Ken Jennings will be the host instead. A poll was conducted, and Jennings received 23 percent of the fan vote while Richards only received 14 percent. The poll surveyed over 1,000 Americans in July.
Despite the lack of fan support, Richards was a big hit with fellow producers and Sony Pictures Television during his guest spot back in February. If the lawsuit claims don’t affect his standing then viewers everywhere could soon see Mike Richards’ face when they turn on their television screens for Jeopardy.