Mike Richards, the now former executive producer of the long-running game show “Jeopardy!,” was fired from the series entirely, Variety reported on Aug. 31. The announcement came just over a week after stepping down from the coveted permanent host gig, which had been awarded to Richards on Aug. 11. He initially stepped down from his hosting duties after disparaging comments from an old podcast surfaced and the Anti-Defamation League called for his resignation. In his statement, Richards said he was stepping down because the backlash was “too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”
While Sony initially showed support for Richards continuing in his role as executive producer, it was revealed via staff memo from Suzanne Prete, executive vice president of business and strategy for “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” — which Richards was also ousted from as executive producer — that this plan didn’t work out.
“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,” the memo stated. “That clearly has not happened.”
The show had been seeking a new host for several months, following the death of the legendary Alex Trebek.
In his role as “Jeopardy” producer, Richards had a reported net worth of $6 million, according to the website ExactNetWorth.com.
Mike Richards’ Television Game Show History
The three-time Daytime Emmy Award winner previously worked as the executive producer of “Wheel of Fortune,” “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” plus one season of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” He also worked on “Divided” and “Weakest Link,” along with hosting “Beauty and the Geek” and “The Pyramid,” according to Showbiz Cheat Sheet.
Richards’ salaries on these shows is not disclosed. However, his salary for hosting “Jeopardy!” could have been in the neighborhood of the $18 million Alex Trebek earned as the show’s host, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Big Shoes to Fill
Trebek filmed his last episode in the studio on October 2020, amid the height of the coronavirus pandemic. That final episode aired Jan. 8. Since then, the hunt has been on for a host of the iconic show.
Richards took over as the show’s executive producer in 2020, months before Alex Trebek died, Stylecaster reported. He was one of a slew of guest hosts, which included former contestants Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, actor LeVar Burton and several celebrity journalists, including Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper. Outsider reported that of the many guest hosts, Rodgers, Burton and Bialik “campaigned the hardest” to be selected.
Now that Richards is out as “Jeopardy!” executive producer, it’s unclear who will fill these newly vacant shoes, either. The search for a new permanent “Jeopardy!” host is still ongoing, with Mayim Bialik set to temporarily take over weeknight hosting duties as the hunt continues, according to the New York Times.
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Last updated: August 31, 2021