Mike Richards has been fired by Sony from being the executive producer of the hit shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune amid the controversy he faced after releasing offensive comments on women, Jews, and the poor. The exit has been confirmed nine days after Mike was forced to step down as host of Jeopardy!
In a statement, Suzanne Prete, an executive of Sony Pictures Television, said, “Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel and Jeopardy! effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. This clearly has not happened.”
After the recent controversy, more issues on Mike Richards’ seemingly ugly misconduct in the past surfaced and reached mainstream media, including the disparaging and misogynistic statements he shared in the podcast called The Randumb Show aired eight years ago, wherein Richards asked his female co-host and female assistant if they have ever taken “booby photos” and further regarded the same co-host as a “booth ho” in another episode. In addition, former co-hosts and other prominent personalities have also come forward with their statements on Richards’ lack of professionalism and respect.
Additionally, multiple models working on Price is Right in 2010 and 2011 accused Mike Richards and others in the production team of discriminating against them for being pregnant while working on the show. Furthermore, he was accused of saying offensive remarks to the other women on the show and was heavily criticized for taking them out of the series. After the allegations, Richards firmly stood his ground and said that the accusations do not define who he is.
Seeing how tarnished Mike Richards’ reputation has been due to the recent turn of events, Sony concluded that he is no longer fit to lead the prominent shows in front of the general public. In a statement, the company said, “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward.”
Jeopardy! is extremely loved by American audiences, and Sony realized how big of a shoe Mike Richards needed to fill after the passing of Alex Trebek. Hence, they were left speechless after finding out the news of Richards’ past, affecting viewership and risking the image of Jeopardy! in the process.
Mike Richards replaced long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek after the latter died of pancreatic cancer in November. While crowds were speculating that one among Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, or LeVar Burton would take Trebek’s place, Mike’s name was declared as the new host in early August. In turn, fans did not receive the news with the warmest welcome.
Michael Davis, the executive producer of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, will replace Mike Richards in his production duties effective immediately.