Jeopardy!'s Mike Richards Addresses Controversial Past Amid Hosting Rumors

In a note to staffers, Mike Richards said “no final decisions” have been made about who will host Jeopardy! following Alex Trebek's death.

By Mike Vulpo Aug 09, 2021 7:56 PMTags
Watch: "Jeopardy!" Producer Mike Richards Addresses Controversial Past

Mike Richards is answering some burning questions surrounding the future of Jeopardy! 

In a letter sent to staffers, which was obtained by E! News, the show's executive producer set the record straight about the ongoing search for a new host more than nine months after Alex Trebek passed away from pancreatic cancer.

"Recently, Jeopardy!, our host search and the possibility of me hosting has been all over the news," Richards began his letter. "It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing."

He continued, "I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony's top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized."

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Earlier this month, a source close to the show told E! News that Richards was in the process of ironing out his deal to succeed Trebek.

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As reports surfaced claiming that Richards was close to being named the new host, his role as an executive producer and involvement in a discrimination lawsuit were put back in the spotlight. In his letter to staff, Richards addressed the "complicated employment issues" during his tenure as a co-executive producer of The Price Is Right.

According to the Associated Press, a former Price Is Right model was awarded more than $7.7 million in punitive damages in 2012 after a jury determined that the show had discriminated against her because of her pregnancy.

During the trial, Richards denied allegations of mistreatment. The Hollywood Reporter also reported that FremantleMedia, which co-produced the show with CBS, appealed the verdict. After an appeals court ruled there was sufficient evidence for a second trial, the case was ultimately settled. In a letter to staffers, Richards reiterated his innocence.

"These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right," he wrote. "I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys." 

"During my tenure [at The Price Is Right and Let's Make a Deal], our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera," he continued. "It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show."

Richards asked staffers to not hesitate in reaching out with any questions or concerns.

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