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UPDATED 9/16, 12:20 p.m. ET: Jeopardy! announced that Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings are taking charge of the quiz show through the rest of 2021:
“Not sure if you’ve heard but @missmayim and @kenjennings are hosting me until the end of the year. Everyone on the staff is supralunar,” the series’ account tweeted, showing off its intellectual Jeopardy!-ness in the process.
UPDATED 8/23, 2:12 p.m. ET: Mayim Bialik, star of Call Me Kat, will be hosting three weeks of Jeopardy! following the exit of Mike Richards.
Per CNN’s Oliver Darcy and Brian Stelter, Bialik has become “a real viable choice” as Sony maps out the show’s future in the wake of controversy. Another mentioned contender is Ken Jennings, a popular guest who’s currently a consulting producer.
See original story below.
Not long after landing the lucrative game show gig, producer Mike Richards has announced he’ll be stepping down as the host of Jeopardy!
Richards was named the new permanent host of the show on Aug. 11, and just over a week later both Richards and Sony have confirmed his departure.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” the 46-year-old Richards wrote in a statement. “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. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
While he wasn’t fired from his hosting duties on the show, at least not officially, he will presumably remain onboard as an executive producer. “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,” he said. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
The team behind the show is now expected to continue its search for a new permanent host following Alex Trebek’s death at age 80 last year. Last week, Richards was confirmed for the role alongside the news that Mayim Bialik, known for her roles on The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, would host ABC primetime specials and a possible spinoff series.
Sony Pictures TV said it supports “Mike’s decision to step down as host.” The company added, “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.”
Richards came under heavy scrutiny when it was announced he would take over as host, with many highlighting how it was questionable that an executive producer of Jeopardy! got the gig after an extensive search. He was also forced to apologize for past sexist remarks he made in a podcast, and on Thursday the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into comments many have called anti-Semitic, per Deadline.
Prior to the controversy surrounding his old podcast, Richards also addressed allegations made in discrimination lawsuits from his time working on The Price Is Right.