Earlier this month, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards had settled on a pick for the show’s new host: Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards. The show’s diehards were not enamored. Richards had been accused of workplace discrimination in two separate lawsuits filed during his time at The Price Is Right. Sony, which produces the show, announced last Wednesday that Richards would host the daily show, while actress Mayim Bialik would host prime time specials.
When the old lawsuits made news in the wake of his new hosting gig, Richards tried to handle the damage. “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price Is Right,” Richards wrote in a letter to show staffers last week. But then the public learned even more about the producer who was originally just some random doofus. This Wednesday The Ringer’s Claire McNear reported on remarks made by Richards on his old podcast The Randumb Show, which was supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look at The Price Is Right.
A show with a title that stupid is bad enough, but Richards also made quite a few comments on The Randumb Show that many considered more “wildly offensive” than “dumb.” In combination with the lawsuits, they didn’t really help his case. Richards said one-piece swimsuits make women look “really frumpy and overweight.” He called a model a “booth ho,” a “booth slut,” and a “boothstitute.” He got way too upset when a cohost gave a dollar to a beggar. At one point he uses pig Latin to talk about Jews: “Ixnay on the ose-nay. She’s not an ew-Jay.”
Yeesh! After The Ringer contacted Sony and Richards’s agent, The Randumb Show disappeared from its hosting provider. Richards issued a statement to McNear:
It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry. 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. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.
Yeah, all the kids look up to the current Jeopardy! host. I remember when I got my first Trebek jersey for Christmas. This statement about the passage of time was not enough. This morning Richards released a statement saying he was out as host. Sony resumes searching for a new one. Richards, who was was slated to begin hosting duties this week, will remain as EP. Production has been suspended; new guest hosts, who have not been named, will continue through this season. Richards was also sorry for the “unwanted negative attention” he brought to Jeopardy!
Richards might have avoided all of this if he had picked basically anyone but himself.