Jeopardy! is without a host once again.
Today, it was reported that recently announced host Mike Richards has stepped down from the position. His decision follows backlash over his resurfaced comments from a podcast, on top of previous accusations that he discriminated against pregnant women.
New Jeopardy! host Mike Richards quits: Statement
Richards began filming his first day as host of Jeopardy! on Thursday, but he informed his colleagues of his decision to quit today. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Richards wrote to his team:
"It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.
"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.
"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."
Richards apologized for the "unwanted negative attention" he brought to the show, and he noted he has "a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence."
In the meantime, Richard will stay on as an executive producer of Jeopardy! while the show returns to guest hosts and searches for a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek.
Mike Richards: Those controversial comments on a podcast?
Ever since Richards was confirmed as the new host of Jeopardy! — a divisive choice from the get-go — a range of his questionable and controversial past remarks have been resurfacing.
It first came out that he was the target of a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit while a producer of The Price Is Right. But the final nail in the coffin appears to be an article from The Ringer this week that dissected his days on a podcast in 2013 and 2014.
On The Randumb, Richards is reported to have made sexist and misogynistic jokes, insulted overweight people, and used improper language for little people and people with mental disabilities.
Then, on Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League called for Richards to be investigated for a comment he made on the podcast where he appeared to joke about a racist Jewish stereotype, in addition to his comments about women and Asians.
Regarding the podcast, earlier this week, Richards said in part: "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."
But he did not survive the controversy as host of one of TV's most cherished institutions. Mayim Bialik was initially confirmed as the host of primetime and spin-off Jeopardy! series, but it remains to be seen if she will become the new permanent host.