“Jeopardy!” EP Mike Richards confirms he was asked to replace Alex Trebek

Executive producer Mike Richards confirmed he was asked to replace Alex Trebek as

Executive producer Mike Richards confirmed he was asked to replace Alex Trebek as Jeopardy! host amid fan backlash. (Photo: Getty Images)

Mike Richards, the executive producer of Jeopardy!, addressed several issues that’ve been raised since it was reported he’s the frontrunner to replace Alex Trebek. In a memo sent to staff and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Richards confirmed he was asked to “consider hosting the show,” but denied he’s appointing himself. He also denied mistreatment claims from his time working as co-EP of The Price Is Right.

“Recently, Jeopardy!, our host search and the possibility of me hosting has been all over the news,” Richards began, calling the past year “the most challenging in the history of the show.” Trebek died in November 2020.

“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored,” Richards continued. “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.”

Richards went on to defend himself against the alleged mistreatment of women employed during his tenure at The Price Is Right a decade ago. Model Brandi Cochran was awarded more than $7.7 million in compensatory and punitive damages in 2012 over claims producers retaliated against her after she announced her pregnancy. She alleged Richards didn’t talk to her as frequently and implied she would have been fired had the pregnancy not been secret.

“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,” Richards told Jeopardy! staff. “I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent … I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”

Richards concluded by encouraging anyone to reach out with “questions or concerns” and said he’s focusing on ramping up for the new season.

The longtime producer was one of the first people to guest-host Jeopardy! after Trebek’s passing. He stepped in last minute due to COVID-19 restrictions and was an overnight hit with viewers. But with a slew of fan-favorite hosts that followed — like Aaron Rodgers, Mayim Bialik and LeVar Burton — some were upset over last week’s news Richards was the frontrunner to succeed Trebek. A final decision has not been made and Sony is not commenting.

Read Richards’s email in full 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.

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