What a fall from grace we’ve witnessed from the now-former executive producer of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards. After weeks of controversies concerning previous discrimination lawsuits, scandals, and one scathing exposé, the man who was once slated to continue Alex Trebek’s legacy on the trivia game show no longer has any position at Sony Picture Television, per an announcement from EVP Suzanne Prete. Michael Davies, the current Who Wants to Be a Millionaire executive producer, will take over Richards’ production duties in the meantime.
Prete’s full statement 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.
Michael Davies from Embassy Row has agreed to help with production on an interim basis until further notice. Michael and I will work together with all of you in the weeks ahead to ensure that production remains on schedule and we do not miss a beat as we head into the new season.
I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks. As Ravi mentioned last week, I will be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward and I am looking forward to working closely with all of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.
Richards’ promotion caused controversy not only due to his previous work conflicts and resurfaced statements on his short-lived podcast, but also because he apparently had a pretty big role in choosing who would become Trebek’s successor. On August 20, Richards stepped down from the hosting position—a mere 9 days after the announcement was made—due to the level of public outcry.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for the Jeopardy! team since what started earlier this year as an interesting and lighthearted debate around who would be the best fit for the open permanent host position turned into a revolving door of disappointing revelations and announcements. It’s unclear where this leaves Jeopardy! in terms of anything really, but the dark cloud that has been cast over the show may not simply part with Richards exit.