The development comes shortly after Richards stepped down as the new permanent Jeopardy! host, a role he was just given on Aug. 11, following a controversy surrounding sexist and controversial comments he once made on a podcast.
“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,” Suzanne Prete, EVP of Business and Strategy for the ABC-aired Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, reportedly wrote in an internal note to staff. “That clearly has not happened.”
Prete’s note mentions that the now-former EP is no longer part of both programs “effective immediately.” The note also shares that Embassy Row’s Michael Davies has agreed to help out on an interim basis.
“I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks,” Prete wrote.
As initially reported by the Ringer, audio from Richards’ The Randumb Show, which was intended to give a behind-the-scenes look at The Price Is Right with co-host Beth Triffon, revealed Richards making insensitive commentary about women. The podcast, which ran from 2013 to 2014, featured Richards mocking the appearance of his co-host’s friends, saying they “look fat and not good,” and also using derogatory terms for little people and the intellectually disabled.
“The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around. Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes,” Richards said in response to the resurfaced audio.
Two decade-old discrimination lawsuits involving Richards also resurfaced, where Price Is Right model Brandi Cochran alleged that Richards suggested models on the show wear bikinis more frequently, with Cochran mentioning how two producers treated fellow models after pregnancies.
The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik—who guest-hosted earlier this year and was announced as the host of the primetime and spin-off series—will take over hosting duties on Jeopardy! for three weeks of episodes as production resumes.