After a tumultuous week that saw The Ringer publish a revealing expose, Jeopardy! host Mike Richards has stepped down from the role before ever actually taking over as permanent host.
Richards, who was named the new full-time host of Jeopardy! in early August, faced almost immediate backlash from the public, and this was before reports about his questionable character came out.
According to a Twitter thread from Roey Hadar, a former Jeopardy! champion, Richards was named in a 2013 lawsuit involving former The Price is Right model Lanisha Cole, who accused Richards of “berating her in front of her peers” and another lawsuit by model Brandi Cochran, who “won $7 million in damages from the show’s production companies.”
In addition to the lawsuits, the expose published by The Ringer alleged that Richards “disparaged women’s weight, called one model a ‘booth slut’ and repeatedly praised ‘the average white-guy host.'”
You can see Richards’ full statement below:
It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.
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.
SPT (Sony Pictures Television) 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 this week.
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.
While Richards is stepping down as host, based on his statement, it appears he will remain on board as a producer. The 38th season of Jeopardy! is currently scheduled to begin on September 13.