Mike Richards will not host Jeopardy! after past offensive remarks emerged. He issued a statement on Friday to his cohorts which reads in part: “As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. 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. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
The statement continued: “SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.”
In resurfaced comments, Richards mocked women’s weight, calling one model a “booth slut” and repeatedly praised “the average white-guy host.”
Sony supported his statement, but said he’ll continue to work as exec producer. There was considerable backlash against his hiring among everyone from fans to the Anti-Defamation League.
Mayim Bialik is still on as co-host. Other replacements for the late and beloved Alex Trebek included fan favorite LeVar Burton, former Jeopardy! champs David Faber, Buzzy Cohen and Ken Jennings, as well as Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Bialik, Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Oz, Katie Couric, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts and Joe Buck.
A bizarre incident marred the final moments as host. According to reports, as taping for Season 38 kicked off, former MVP Jennings and others were invited to rename the studio after Trebek, but that Richards was “too nervous” to have them on-set, so they were relegated to the Green Room.