Talk about Final Jeopardy!
That’s what Mike Richards, the executive producer and newly (self?) selected host of Jeopardy found himself in from the minute the news broke that he had won the highly coveted gig. And now, after weeks of controversy, Variety reported that he has stepped down.
Richards released a statement in which he admitted that his hiring had become too much of a distraction and that he was stepping down as host of Jeopardy, a mere 9 days after his hiring was announced. He will remain the show’s executive producer.
“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,” he wrote.
BREAKING: Mike Richards has stepped down as the host of Jeopardy! Official statement via Sony: pic.twitter.com/eJSwyBOXwN
— Claire McNear (@clairemcnear) August 20, 2021
Frankly, this seemed inevitable. From questions about his role in the selection process to lawsuits involving his treatment of female employees at previous shows, along with a collection of problematic remarks he made on his old podcast (unearthed in this damning article on The Ringer), Richards days of future hosting were almost immediately numbered. It almost seems like Jeopardy knew it too, having already installed Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory, Blossom) as a secondary host, for specials and spin-offs.
Will Bialik immediately step in as the regular host of the daily primetime show? Not so fast. In Richards’ statement, he says the show will resume the search for a permanent host. Perhaps fans will get another crack at favorite LeVar Burton? Maybe Aaron Rodgers, or popular champion Ken Jennings, will throw their names back into the ring.
Whoever it is, it would probably be best if they made the choice quickly. The tortured search for a replacement for legendary host Alex Trebek is the most Jeopardy has been in the news for quite a while, but for all the wrong reasons.