Jeopardy! is without a permanent host once again.
Less than 24 hours after issuing an apology for past sexist remarks made on a podcast, Mike Richards has announced he is stepping down from becoming the quiz show's newest host.
In a statement addressed to the long-running show's staff, which was obtained by E! News on Aug. 20, Richards wrote, "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," he continued. "As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today."
Although Richards will be stepping back from his hosting duties, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television confirmed he will remain on board as an executive producer. In a statement issued by Sony, the organization expressed support of the decision made by Richards.
"We support Mike's decision to step down as host," the statement read. "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. Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect."
Richards' latest step back comes on the heels of a report published by The Ringer, in which the outlet reviewed 41 episodes of the The Randumb Show podcast, which Richards hosted from 2013 to 2014. The website reported that the producer repeatedly used offensive language and made sexist comments about women's bodies and clothing. The original recordings, which E! News has not listened to, were deleted on Aug. 17, the outlet said. On Aug. 19, Richards issued a statement to E! News about the comments made on the podcast.
"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," he said. "Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry."
According to The Ringer, during one episode in 2014, released after the leak of naked celebrity pics by a hacker, Richards reportedly asked his assistant and co-host if they'd ever taken nude photos. And in another recording later that year, the outlet reported that Richards said one-piece swimsuits made women look "really frumpy and overweight."
These latest unearthed remarks were the latest in the reports of Richards' alleged negative behavior towards women.
Immediately following the announcement of the game show producer landing the hosting gig after Alex Trebek's death in 2020, reports surfaced describing allegations of mistreatment during his days as an executive producer on The Price is Right.
According to the Associated Press, in 2012, a former model of the daytime game show the game show was tentatively awarded more than $7.7 million in punitive damages after a jury determined that the show had discriminated against her because of her pregnancy. In a letter to staff later referring to the incident, Richards denied the allegations.
Richards concluded his statement, adding, "SPT 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 next 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."