Richards’ departure from the US game show comes after a backlash to resurfaced sexist comments, which he apologised for earlier this week.
In a memo to staff, Richards wrote: “I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
The news was broken by New York Times writer Michael M. Grynbaum on Friday (20 August), who tweeted: “BREAKING: Mike Richards has QUIT as host of Jeopardy!”
Ringer writer Claire McNear also posted the full memo, in which Richards wrote: “It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter...
“I want to apologise 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.
“I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Earlier this week, Richards apologised for past sexist comments he had made on a podcast, which were published in The Ringer.
According to the publication, Richards “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies” on The Randumb Show, which Richards hosted between 2013 and 2014.
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago,” Richards said in his apology.
“Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry. The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around.”
Earlier this month, Richards sent a note to Jeopardy! staffers (later provided to NBC News) addressing two past discrimination lawsuits dating back to his previous producing position on The Price is Right.
Richards denied any wrongdoing, describing the lawsuits as “employment disputes” and adding in part: “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterised in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right.”
Richards was announced as the new host of Jeopardy! on 11 August. He was to replace Alex Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer in November 2020.
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