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HomeBollywoodFormer Jeopardy! Host For A Day Mike Richards Gives Answers

Former Jeopardy! Host For A Day Mike Richards Gives Answers

Former Jeopardy! producer Mike Richards is finally talking about what went wrong for him in his ill-fated stint as host two years ago.

Richards was announced as the full-time replacement for the late Alex Trebek in 2021. He lasted just one day before resigning after questions arose about his conduct.

“We never discussed how to replace Alex once we knew he was sick,” Richards told People in a new interview. “A conversation like that would have been so disrespectful. We had talked about people coming in and guest hosting if Alex got too sick. But we always knew Alex would come back until the day he decided he couldn’t.”

Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in November 2020. At that point, several guest hosts were brought in as executives struggled to determine who would be the host.

The tryouts included Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Buck, and Robin Roberts. During the process, Richards was inserted into the mix and eventually, offered the job.

“No one was more surprised than me,” he said. “They told me, ‘We’d like you to be the host of the syndicated version of Jeopardy!‘ I paused, and said, ‘Oh wow. Thank you. What’s the media plan?’ Because I was very concerned that this was going to be scrutinized as closely as a presidential election. There was widespread belief that whoever got the job first wouldn’t make it.”

Richards also served as a producer of Wheel of Fortune, and added, “Everyone was so angry, because it looked like I had gone into a room and picked myself. And that’s not what happens in television. But I understood that that’s what the outward appearances were.”

Eventually, details of Richards’ alleged treatment of a The Price Is Right model from a past discrimination lawsuit immediately resurfaced.

“I hosted one day,” he said. “And then the anti-defamation league was called in to do an investigation on me.”

The investigation was fueled by an exposé in The Ringer, which detailed offensive remarks referring to women, Jewish people, and people with mental disabilities that he made on a podcast he hosted in 2013.

“I told them, I’ll answer anything. I’m an open book, proud of what I’ve done. I’m proud of my track record as a boss,” Richards said. “But by then, everyone was like, ‘Oh he’s just a horrible person.’ It was the price you pay for getting thrust into the zeitgeist in a very inopportune moment.”

Richards said he is finally talking about the experience to clear the air surrounding his experience being in the cultural storm.

“I feel like I can be a force for good as far as having open, honest conversations. We can all disagree about a lot of things. We can disagree about politics. We can disagree about who hosts Jeopardy! We can disagree about liking a final Jeopardy! clue. And we should. But I felt like there was a— this rush to judgment, and a lot of people got joy in saying, ‘I got you.’”

Since the firing, Richards is still pitching game show concepts.

“If I pitched a show and someone asked, ‘Would you be you hosting it?’ I say, ‘Only if you think I’m the right man for the job. I don’t care if you have someone else in mind,’” he said.

Richards adde that there are no regrets on his part about the Jeopardy gig eventually going to Jennings: “I always thought Ken was the guy.”

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