Mike Richards quits as Jeopardy! host after a string of sexist comments he made resurfaced online. He wrote in a statement Friday that he “will be stepping down as host effective immediately.” He explained that “as a result, we will be canceling production today.”

He told fans that “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.” Richards was set to replace Alex Trebek as the host for Jeopardy!, a popular trivia game show that has been on the air for over five decades.

Mike Richards, who co-executive produced The Price is Right, is said to have made inappropriate and offensive comments during his time in showbusiness. Claire McNear – who is the author of a tell-all Jeopardy! book titled Answers in the Form of Questionssaid that Richards made disparaging comments while hosting his “The Randumb Show” podcast.

What happened to Mike Richards? Jeopardy! host replacement stepping down amid backlash for offensive comments he made during his "The Randumb Show" podcast.
What happened to Mike Richards? Jeopardy! host replacement stepping down amid backlash for offensive comments he made during his “The Randumb Show” podcast. Photo Credit: Twitter

McNear said she reviewed all 41 episodes of the podcast and claimed she heard offensive remarks about women, Jews, poor people, and the tragedy in Haiti. The podcast episodes have since been pulled but not before the backlash against Mike Richards has surged online.

“I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role,” Richards admitted in his statement. “However, 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.”

Mike Richards was one of the guest hosts brought on to Jeopardy! after Alex Trebek tragically passed away. He, along with other big-names like LeVar Burton, Aaron Rodgers, and Mayim Bialik, took the mantle over the past few months. It seemed the Jeopardy! executives had finally found their match but controversy has since marred Richards’ move into the spotlight. Now fans are wondering who will replace him.

According to Richards, executives will “resume the search for a permanent syndicated host.” Until a new host is crowned, the game show will feature another series of guest hosts. Who those guest hosts will be have not yet been revealed.

“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 admitted in his statement. Mike Richards made his debut appearance as Jeopardy! host in February and continued until early March. He and a series of other celebrities filled the hole Alex Trebek left after he passed away in November.

Mike Richards might lose his chance to be the new host of Jeopardy! with these past discrimination claims.
Mike Richards quits after past discrimination and offensive comments resurfaced online. Why is Jeopardy! host replacement stepping down? Photo Credit: Instagram

When Jeopardy! executives finally announced Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement, things started to turn muddy for the famous game show. Richards was involved in two discrimination lawsuits during his time as an executive producer on The Price Is Right. The lawsuits, which took place between 2008 and 2013, claimed that Richards and other staff members treated model Brandi Cochran differently after her pregnancy announcement.

Mike Richards was also accused of verbally abusing model Lanisha Cole. Richards has denied any alleged wrongdoing and claimed the lawsuits misconstrued real events. Despite the allegations brought on by the lawsuits, Richards was still a frontrunner for Jeopardy! host position, but things got heated earlier this week when his comments resurfaced.

During an apology statement that Richards made Wednesday, he said that “it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable.” He continued, saying that “it is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago and that “looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry.”