Well that was quick. Jeopardy! govt producer Mike Richards is out as Alex Trebek’s successor, simply 9 days after Sony Pictures TV named him the everlasting host of the beloved recreation present. Frankly, we’re thrilled! Despite the avalanche of proof that emerged in current days indicating Richards is not a really good particular person, it appeared like Jeopardy! was going to face by him, banking on the undeniable fact that the information cycle would transfer on and the present’s core (older, white) viewers would not care about his checkered previous. That did not occur, nonetheless! And now the search is on for a replacement-replacement host.
Trebek helmed Jeopardy! for 37 years, and after he died of pancreatic cancer final November, the present introduced in a complete bunch of buzzy visitor hosts to take turns behind the podium in his absence, from Anderson Cooper and Robin Roberts to Katie Couric and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Some of them, like LeVar Burton, Ken Jennings and Aaron Rodgers, have been overtly auditioning for the everlasting gig. As Jeopardy! EP, Richards solely overlapped with Trebek for just a few months, and he wasn’t initially a part of the visitor internet hosting lineup. He was really the first particular person tapped to seek out the late host’s substitute… after which he seemingly threw his personal hat in the ring. (Sony claimed Richards stepped apart as soon as he grew to become a candidate.)
Sony reportedly seen Richards as a impartial character who would not overshadow the iconic present, and he was competent throughout his stint as visitor host final winter, however he was additionally an annoyingly bland choice. It appeared like the Jeopardy! fits have been banking on inoffensive whiteness to placate the daytime TV viewers. What Sony did not anticipate was the livid blowback from Jeopardy! followers, who pointed to Richards’ EP position as possible proof he had a hand in putting in himself as host.
The New York Times delved into how Jeopardy!‘s choice course of grew to become “just a little like selecting a pope,” as Jennings phrased it. “If you don’t watch Jeopardy!, you don’t perceive, however individuals take this very significantly,” the record-breaking champion defined. Sony pointed to low scores for fan favorites like Burton and excessive ones for Richards as technique of justifying his choice. But on Saturday, the Times revealed that Richards alone selected which episodes have been screened for focus teams, whereas different supervising producers have been excluded from the course of. The EP wasn’t who Trebek most definitely needed as his successor; that was in all probability Jennings, who discovered a pair of the late host’s cufflinks and a handwritten notice from his widow, Jean, in his dressing room when he arrived on set for his audition. Or CNN’s Laura Coates, who Trebek named as a possible successor earlier than his demise, however who by no means even had an audition on the present.
The revelation that Richards probably swayed the host choice course of in his favor left a bitter style in followers’ mouths. But then, on the eve of his first official day on the job, The Ringer printed a report exposing all the racist, sexist vitriol he’d spouted on an previous podcast. When Richards realized reporters have been nosing round, he scrubbed all 41 episodes of The Randumb Show from the web. But the journalists documented him expressing a complete swath of disgusting views circa 2013-2014.
Richards disparaged ladies’s our bodies and insulted and harassed his co-host and former assistant, Beth Triffon, asking to see footage of her “boobies.” He used slurs like the R-word, made a crack about Jewish individuals having large noses, and made enjoyable of his co-host’s peak by calling her a derogatory time period for little individuals. Richards went on a sexist rant a few image of Triffon’s buddies carrying one-piece swimsuits, calling them “genuinely unattractive.” When she complained about residence issues, Richards responded: “Does Beth dwell, like, in Haiti? Doesn’t it sound like that?” He additionally admonished her for giving a greenback to an unhoused girl. “I believed that she wanted it… so she might get some espresso or some meals,” Triffon protested, and Richards responded, “Or some crack! Or some meth!”
When the Jeopardy! EP apologized this week for his dangerous conduct eight years in the past, he made it sound like historic historical past or simply locker room discuss between buddies. But the podcast episodes have been largely taped in his workplace at The Price Is Right, in the presence of two much-younger feminine workers — Triffon and his then-assistant, Jen Bisgrove, who served as the podcast producer. It’s putting that Richards was this cavalier together with his language and conduct in the direction of ladies in a public discussion board, when only a few years prior, he’d been sued by Price models for being pregnant discrimination. (Also notable: when he grew to become EP of Price, he traded out getting older fashions for youthful ones, made their skirts shorter and mandated they put on bikinis extra typically.)
Richards launched an announcement about his “choice” to step apart: “It has grow to be clear that transferring ahead as host could be an excessive amount of of a distraction for our followers and never the proper transfer for the present,” he stated. In the meantime, Jeopardy! is bringing again extra visitor hosts. (If Burton does not get one other whack at the job, with 10 entire episodes, ideally not whereas competing with viewership of the Olympics, his supporters will riot.) Richards will stay the recreation present’s EP, nonetheless, which is fairly awkward and leaves lingering questions on his affect over who will get the gig.
This “smile with sharp enamel” (as one former worker described Richards) believed he was untouchable. He’d been gunning for a recreation present internet hosting job his entire profession. (Drew Carey beat him out to grow to be Bob Barker’s Price successor in 2007.) When the likelihood to nab Trebek’s gig introduced itself, he in all probability thought he was entitled to it. But individuals who cherish Jeopardy! as an establishment as a substitute held Richards accountable for his previous, refusing to let him tarnish Trebek’s sterling legacy. What is “you get what’s coming to you?”