Newly designated “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards apologized again after it was revealed he made comments about women, Jews and people with learning disabilities on a podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014.
Richards, 46, admitted his “thoughtlessness” and “insensitivity” after an article by The Ringer Wednesday detailed the derogatory statements about “The Randumb Show.” The 41-episode podcast was taken offline by Richards on Tuesday after he was approached by The Ringer for comment about the show.
“Looking back now, there is of course no excuse for the comments I made on this podcast and I am very sorry,” Richards said in a statement. “The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between old friends who had a history of making jokes.”
Richards said his attempts to be funny and provocative “were not acceptable.”
This isn’t the first time Richards has been under scrutiny since rumors circulated earlier this month that he could replace the late Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!”
During Richards’ tenure as executive producer of “The Price is Right,” Brandi Cochran filed a lawsuit against CBS and FremantleMedia in 2010. The suit claimed the model was not invited back to the show after she took time off for her pregnancy. The case was eventually settled, but Richards faced additional pregnancy discrimination claims outside of Cochran, which were unsuccessful.
“These were labor dispute allegations against the show,” Richards said in a memo to staff earlier this month. “I want you all to know that the way my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we collaborated on ‘The Price is Right’.”
In addition, many have questioned Richards’ qualifications for hosting, as well as his influence over the process in selecting Trebek’s replacement. After all, Richards is the executive producer of ‘Jeopardy!’, a title he took on after signing a multi-year deal with Sony in 2019, which also made him the EP of ‘Wheel of Fortune’.
According to The Ringer, Richards exaggerated why guest host Ken Jennings was not available to record more episodes and stepped in as the replacement.
The publication also noted that, as the show’s EP, Richards had control over nearly every aspect of the most recent season of “Jeopardy!” This included instructing guest hosts, influencing the promotion of the show’s episodes, and choosing the shows to be sent to test groups for evaluation.
Read The Ringer’s full report.