Jeopardy! Bosses 'Surprised' to Learn of Mike Richards' Offensive Jokes, Confirm He Will Continue as Exec Producer

Though he will not stand behind the Jeopardy! podium as host, Mike Richards still will play a pivotal role in the syndicated quiz show.

A Sony Pictures Television spokesperson confirmed to TVLine that Richards will stay on as executive producer despite stepping down as host. Richards’ announcement that he would not be Alex Trebek’s successor came Friday, via a memo to the show’s staff, in light of backlash regarding some anti-Semitic, misogynistic and racist jokes he told on a podcast a few years ago.

“As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role,” Richards wrote. “However, 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.”

Via a separate statement, the spokesperson said: “We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. 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.”

Five episodes of Jeopardy! were filmed with Richards behind the podium, all of which will still air despite his departure as host.

Richards, who joined the show in 2020, “has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced,” the statement continued. (Trebek, who hosted for more than three decades, died in November 2020 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.) “It is our hope that as EP, he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”

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