“Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards has reportedly resigned from his new role just over a week after it was announced.
Sony Pictures TV, which owns the game show, confirmed Friday that the new full-time host agreed to step down after backlash from fans, Variety reported.
“It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” Richards said in a statement obtained by Variety. “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.”
Production of the game show was also stopped Friday, The Wrap reported.
Richards was selected to be the full-time host for the daily syndicated version of the show on Aug. 11, alongside Mayim Bialik, who is planned to host the show’s primetime and spinoff series, McClatchy News previously reported. They were selected among 16 people who took turns guest hosting “Jeopardy!” after the death of longtime host Alex Trebek.
Many fans quickly showed disapproval when Richards was selected, pointing to past inappropriate comments he made when hosting “The Randumb Show” podcast in 2013 and 2014, The Ringer previously reported.
“I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing,” Richards said in his statement announcing the news, according to a screengrab from Claire McNear, a staff writer with The Ringer. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
What happens next?
With Richards stepping down as the full-time host, what happens to the show?
Richards will stay on as the show’s executive producer, according to The New York Times.
“Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the ‘Jeopardy!’ team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced,” Sony said in a statement to the Times. “It is our hope that as executive producer he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
Sony Pictures says it is now resuming its search for who will replace Richards as the full-time host, according to The Wrap.
Until a new permanent syndicated host has been found, the screenshot from The Ringer shows, “Jeopardy!” will bring back guest hosts to continue the new season’s production. Details are expected to be announced next week.