New 'Jeopardy!' Host Is Out Before He Even Started After Past Comments About Women Spark Backlash


Newly announced “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards stepped down on Friday amid backlash over comments he made on a comedy podcast in 2014.

The Ringer unearthed the comments this week in an apparent attempt to cancel the replacement for legendary former host Alex Trebek.

Richards was accused of making sexist and insensitive remarks on “The Randumb Show” podcast, which The Ringer reported he hosted from 2013 to 2014.

“A review of all 41 episodes of the podcast that were available online until Tuesday reveals that Richards repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies,” the outlet claimed.

“In an episode published on September 4, 2014, after the iCloud photo hack, which exposed intimate images of numerous female celebrities, Richards asked his assistant and his cohost — both much younger women — whether they had ever taken nude photos.”

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“When his cohost said that she had sometimes taken photos of herself when she thought she looked cute, Richards responded, ‘Like booby pictures? What are we looking at?’ Later, he asked to go through her phone; when she declined to share an image with him, he asked whether it was ‘of [her] boobies.’”

The Ringer shared a 20-second clip of the episode, which has since been taken offline.

The outlet also said Richards called actress Kristin Chenoweth a “midget” and used the word “retarded.”

“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago,” Richards said in a statement to The Ringer. “Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry.”

“It’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.”

Variety reported that Richards agreed to step down on Friday before he’d even made his debut as the permanent host of “Jeopardy!”

Richards, who will remain as a producer of the game show, said the controversy created “too much of a distraction for our fans.”

Sony Pictures TV also commented on Richards’ short tenure as host.

“We support Mike’s decision to step down as host,” Sony said in a statement. “We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past.  We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward.”

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Just nine days ago, Sony announced Richards would co-host “Jeopardy!” with actress Mayim Bialik.

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy!,” Richards said at the time. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show.”

“I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love,” he added.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.