You know what I think about essentially every time I walk down the cereal section at my local grocery store? That the Cinnamon Toast Shrimp guy — surely you remember the Cinnamon Toast Shrimp guy from back in March, who claimed to find a repulsive dried-up shrimp tail in his cereal box — literally has not tweeted since that whole ordeal. Why? Because once he got the spotlight he obviously so craved, ex-girlfriends started coming out of the woodwork to make sure everyone knew how much of a creep he (allegedly) is.
It’s a CLASSIC “be careful what you wish for” scenario: if Cinnamon Toast Shrimp guy’s goal was to get money off of General Mills, he could’ve handled that without social media and could’ve kept on tweeting whatever it is he *used to* tweet. Instead, he wanted attention and attention is what he got, which is ultimately was resulted in his canceling.
By this point, you can probably (hopefully) connect the dots as to why I’m bringing this up in an article about Mike Richards, a man you never heard of a month ago but are now three paragraphs into an article about, two of which were about my spaced-out, likely-stoned food shopping musings. Mike Richards made the same mistake as Cinnamon Toast Shrimp guy, only on a much larger scale.
You’d imagine that, as a Californian executive producer of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, Mike Richards lived quite the cushy life and cashed quite a fat paycheck. But that apparently wasn’t enough for Mike, who simply *had to* insert himself into the race to become the new host of the iconic game show once the legendary Alex Trebek passed. The rest, as they say, is history.
Over the course of about a week, Richards was named permanent host of Jeopardy!, The Ringer published an expose that alleged that Richards “disparaged women’s weight, called one model a ‘booth slut’ and repeatedly praised ‘the average white-guy host,'” and then Richards stepped down as host. Then, on Monday, he was fired from his role as executive producer on both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
The spotlight on Richards is now also shining on his past, as The Hollywood Reporter has published a piece that details his tenure as a producer on The Price is Right, with “more than a dozen former staffers on the CBS and Fremantle show describing a ‘dismantling’ of a workplace culture that preceded him.”
As Sony faces criticism over its handling of the Jeopardy host transition, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with more than a dozen former staffers on the Price Is Right about its workplace culture during the decade that Richards presided as co-exec producer and then executive producer and showrunner, from 2008-2019. The portrait that emerged from these sources — many of whom declined to speak publicly out of fear of retribution in the industry — was of a manager who was more interested in being a host, who ushered out veteran on-set leaders, was the subject of at least two HR complaints to CBS and Fremantle, and presided over budget cuts and loss of benefits to staffers.
Kids, let this be a lesson… just be a decent person. And if you can’t accomplish that then remain in the shadows, because once you force yourself into the spotlight, you’ll get exactly what you wanted, for better or for worse.