It has been a rollercoaster of a month for Jeopardy! following the announcement of Mike Richards as the show’s new host, the subsequent backlash, and, ultimately, his departure. Now the executive producer has apologized to the show’s production staff.
According to Deadline, Richards held a Microsoft Teams meeting on Monday with the Jeopardy! crew, where he apologized for the controversial comments he made in 2013 on The Randumb Show podcast. The remarks, which came to light in a report from The Ringer, included insensitive jokes about women, Haitians, and the Jewish community.
This latest controversy surrounding Richards followed allegations of pregnancy discrimination on the set of The Price Is Right. With pressure mounting on Sony Pictures Television, Richards decided to step down as the new full-time host. The Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik, who is set to host primetime specials and spinoffs, will fill in as host of the main syndicated program for at least the next three weeks.
Richards is said to have held a similar virtual meeting with the staff of Wheel of Fortune, which he also executive produces. Both meetings were attended by Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Sony Global Television Studios, who is in charge of the studio’s gameshow franchises and led the search for the late Alex Trebek‘s replacement.
Despite departing as host, Richards will remain on at Jeopardy! as executive producer. However, according to Deadline, multiple staffers who were present for the meeting said they had expected him to step down as the show restarts its search for a new permanent host.
Sony is also putting together teams to work on increasing inclusivity on Jeopardy! and its other gameshow programming. Ahuja, who shared a story about growing up as a Sikh in Mississippi in 1970s where he received racially insensitive comments, said the studio is committed to tackling the issue.
Production on the new episodes of Jeopardy! was paused on Friday following Richards’ abrupt departure. Taping is expected to resume later this week.
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