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New ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mike Richards Steps Down After His Past Wrongdoings Come to Light

Nine days after “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards was named the permanent host of the game show, Richards is stepping down from the role.

Richards released a statement to Sony Pictures Entertainment explaining his decision. “It pains me that these incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” he said.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 01: Mike Richards accepts the award for outstanding game show for The Price is Right at the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards at Westin Bonaventure Hotel on May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage)

The 46-year-old continued saying he was “deeply honored” and “thrilled” to continue the legacy of long-time host Alex Trebek, who died last November from pancreatic cancer. He continued, “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.” In recent weeks, past discrimination and harassment lawsuits and old derogatory comments made by Richards during a podcast have resurfaced. Richards hosted “The Randumb Show” podcast from 2013 to 2014.

In the rest of his statement, he revealed that the hunt for a new host has been resumed, therefore, the show will be bringing back old guest hosts until it finds a new host. While he is stepping down from the hosting role, all hope is not lost for Richards as he will continue working behind the scenes as an executive producer.

For seven months, Sony Pictures allowed celebrities like Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, Anderson Cooper and others to host a few episodes while the brand decided on a permanent host. Viewers were ultimately upset when someone already working on the show, Richards, was chosen as host rather than fan favorites such as Burton or Ken Jennings.

To those who have kept up with the story, the news about Richards stepping down may not come as a shocker, since his past has been coming back to haunt him from the very moment he was chosen to be the host. The summation of his past discrimination and harassment lawsuits and podcast comments had many assuming Richards was an anti-woman person.

The lawsuits stemmed from his previous role as executive producer at “The Price Is Right.” Three models filed their own lawsuits against Richards, two of which claimed he fired them for getting pregnant, and the last one claimed she was wrongfully terminated. Then days later, old audio from his podcast resurfaced, and he can be heard teasing his co-worker Beth Triffon with sexist comments, as well as mocking others.

Despite the backlash he’s received Sony Pictures is seemingly sticking beside Richards, telling The New York Times on Friday, Aug. 20, that, “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. It is our hope that as executive producer he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”

“Jeopardy!” will announce its new guest host soon.

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