Less than a week after reports surfaced that he was the frontrunner to succeed the late Alex Trebek as host, Jeopardy! exec producer Mike Richards addressed the speculation Monday morning in an internal email to the game show’s staff. Bottom line: It’s true that he is in talks for the permanent job.
Richards also weighed in on the controversy surrounding those recently resurfaced 2010 lawsuits from his time as an EP on The Price Is Right.
The complete memo is below:
Recently, Jeopardy!, our host search and the possibility of me hosting has been all over the news. I want to take a moment so that you can hear directly from me. The last year has been the most challenging in the history of the show. I know we are all still dealing with the loss of our hero, Alex, while at the same time continuing to produce amazing shows for our millions of fans through the pandemic. Our success over that time with our guest-host rotation, including the more than $3 million we raised for charities, is a singular achievement and a testament to your talent and dedication. I’ve produced a lot of television over the years, and I could not be more impressed with team Jeopardy!
It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing. I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.
I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price is Right ten years ago. These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. 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. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.
I am very proud of my time on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal. During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera. It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.
For us, I realize there is a lot going on right now as we ramp up for the new season. Please do not hesitate to reach out of you have any questions or concerns.
It is truly an honor to get to work with all of you to produce this amazing show, and I look forward to the days ahead as we get back into production. —Mike
During his tenure at The Price Is Right, two of the show’s former models filed pregnancy discrimination lawsuits; Richards was implicated in both. One of the models, Brandi Cochran, was ultimately awarded $8.5 million. The other case was settled following an appeal.