Mike Richards was released as “Jeopardy! " Executive producer

Sony said Tuesday that Mike Richards will immediately step down as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” To longtime host Alex Trebek. “We ...

Sony said Tuesday that Mike Richards will immediately step down as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” To longtime host Alex Trebek.

“We had hoped for it when Mike left the host position at ‘Jeopardy!’ it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties that we have all experienced in recent weeks, ”Sony executive Suzanne Prete wrote in a note to staff on Tuesday. “This clearly did not happen.”

Mr. Richards is also set to step down from his role as executive producer of “Wheel of Fortune”. He will be temporarily replaced in both shows by Michael Davies, a veteran game show producer who developed the original US version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

Sony had appointed Mr. Richards as a permanent host of “Jeopardy!” on August 11, calling him a “unique talent”. But Mr. Richards quit hosting work August 20, a few days after a report by The Ringer revealed offensive and sexist comments he made on a podcast several years ago, the latest in a series of scandals which paved his brief tenure.

Senior Sony executives initially had reported supporting Mr. Richards to remain as executive producer even after he resigns as host. But they ended up believing his continued presence would be untenable, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity to describe sensitive internal discussions.

Team members confronted Mr Richards on August 19 in an emotional meeting, in which they expressed dismay at his past behavior and said it had put the show’s reputation at risk. . A call to all last week that included Mr. Richards left some staff demoralized. Some “Jeopardy! Fans also said they did not understand why Mr. Richards was allowed to stay behind the scenes.

A final decision was made over the weekend, the person said.

Mr Richards is in contact with powerful Hollywood lawyer Bryan Freedland to negotiate his exit from Sony, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Mr. Freedland also represented the former NBC News anchor. Megyn Kelly and Chris Harrison, the former host of “The Bachelor,” after their own abrupt ousts.

Mr. Richards recorded a week of “Jeopardy! Episodes in a single day of filming before Sony announced that it had ceded the hosting job. (These episodes are still scheduled to air the week of September 13.) The former sitcom star Mayim Bialik should remain the host of “Jeopardy!” prime-time specials, but Sony has said it will resume the search for a replacement for Mr. Trebek’s weekday time slot. Ms. Bialik will be the first guest presenter of the regular program in place of Mr. Richards.

The contest to replace Mr. Trebek, who died in 2020 after hosting the show for 37 years, captivated “Jeopardy!” fans and featured a parade of potential successors including former contestant Ken Jennings and actor LeVar Burton.

But it was Mr Richards who won out, despite having virtually no name recognition among viewers and as executive producer of the show, he oversaw elements of the replacement process. . Old trials have also resurfaced Mr. Richards’ latest job at the helm of “The Price Is Right” which included accusations of sexist behavior.

“Danger!” first aired in 1964 and has grown into a beloved television institution that still attracts millions of weekly viewers. The fury around Mr. Richards pierced the show’s above-fray reputation, long cultivated by the low-key Mr. Trebek, and subjected it to intense debate over diversity, privilege and demeanor. in the modern workplace.

Sony management was also coming under scrutiny for the mess. “Danger!” had been a reliable gem in the studio’s television portfolio, quietly earning tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue. But it’s messy succession drama upset fans and raised questions about why Sony failed to find out about Mr. Richards’ past offensive behavior before naming him the new host.

The report in The ring revealed offensive comments Mr. Richards made on a podcast, including a 2013 episode where Mr. Richards called his co-host a “booth bitch” because she once worked as a model in a salon. consumption in Las Vegas. He described the women wearing one-piece swimsuits as looking “really awkward and overweight” and referred to stereotypes about Jews and big noses, sparking outrage from the Anti-Defamation League.

Mr. Richards, in a note to “Jeopardy!” on August 20, announcing he would be stepping down as host, wrote that “it pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow over ‘Jeopardy!’ as we seek to start a new chapter.

He closed the memo by writing, “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your confidence.”

Former prominent contender James Holzhauer, who first appeared in “Jeopardy!” in 2019, seemed rejoice on social networks after the announcement of Mr. Richard’s departure, to suggest that he might not even have watched the show if Mr. Richards had remained involved.

Andy Saunders, who runs the website The peril! Fan, said on Tuesday he was relieved and hoped peace could be restored during the game show.

“His reputation has taken a hit in recent weeks,” he said in an interview. “I can’t wait to move on. And I hope the show has learned from what happened.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mike Richards was released as “Jeopardy! " Executive producer
Mike Richards was released as “Jeopardy! " Executive producer
Newsrust - US Top News
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