Embattled Jeopardy! Producer Mike Richards Has Officially Left The Show

If Mike Richards' job was in (ahem) jeopardy before, it's well beyond that now. In the latest update on the unbelievably self-inflicted saga that has caught social media by storm, the producer and one-time new hire for the main hosting gig of "Jeopardy!" has finally departed the beloved game show entirely, effective immediately. At a time when powerful men have been put under an increased microscope and social movements have attempted to bring to light injustices suffered under systems of abuse, the combination of Richards' largely self-promoted ascendancy to such a sought-after role and the backlash to his uncovered history of flagrant misbehavior proved to be the final straw. 

Meanwhile, the search continues for a full-time replacement for the late Alex Trebek.

Flying Too Close To The Sun

According to THR, Mike Richards is officially out as executive producer on both "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune." This likely marks the end of an ignominious career (publicly, at least) that saw Richards transformed from virtual anonymity to persona non grata almost overnight ... a situation that could've been avoided completely if only he had chosen to remain in the background. Richards became emblematic of a dysfunctional corporate atmosphere that allowed someone with a public history of lax workplace standards and severely questionable attempts at humor to remain in multiple positions of authority. In fact, he was initially expected to remain attached to "Jeopardy!" as executive producer even after being forced to step down from the hosting candidacy. If this is to be considered a kneejerk example of "cancel culture," it has unquestionably been a long, winding, and bizarrely self-defeating path to get there.

The announcement comes from a note sent to staffers by Suzanne Prete, Executive Vice President of Business and Strategy at Sony Pictures Television. In part, her letter reads:

"I'm writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of "Wheel" and "Jeopardy!" effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at "Jeopardy!" it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened."

You, uh, could say that again. In a further sign of how shoddily this entire process has played out, the other previously announced hosting hire apparently has plenty of skeletons in her own closet as well. Mayim Bialik will step into the role as temporary daytime "Jeopardy!" host despite an established history of anti-vaxxer comments and controversial statements about pregnant women opting for birth by C-section. It remains to be seen how long or even if this hiring will last much longer than Richards'.

Mike Richards also released a statement on the decision, which you can read below:

It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter. 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 ... 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. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.