What is the next step for "Jeopardy!" producers after Mike Richards stepped down as the iconic program's new daytime host?
Richards announced on Friday that he's stepping aside as the new daytime host after a series of sexist remarks he made in the past resurfaced earlier last week.
Richards, who has been the executive producer of "Jeopardy!" since 2020, was named the new daily host of the long-running game show earlier this month. Actress Mayim Bialik was named as the host for the game show's primetime events and tournaments.
"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," Richards said in a statement to "Jeopardy!" staff obtained by The Ringer and CNN. "As a result, we will be cancelling production today."
Since being named the permanent host of "Jeopardy!," Richards' past has come under scrutiny — including a workplace discrimination lawsuit that was levied against him during his time as a producer on "The Price is Right."
Further, The Ringer earlier this week published a report detailing sexist remarks Richards made on a podcast he hosted between 2013 and 2014.
In one episode of "The Randumb Show," Richards said one-pieced bathing suits made women look "frumpy and overweight." In another episode, he inquired whether his female cohost had taken nude photos of herself.
"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," Richards' statement to staff continued. "I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence."
In announcing Richards' hiring, Sony Pictures said that production on the newest season of Jeopardy would begin in "mid-August," and that new episodes would launch Sept. 13.
Richards' resignation puts the long-running game show back to square one in finding a permanent replacement for beloved host Alex Trebek, who died of cancer in November at the age of 80.
Jeopardy appears Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. on KRIS-TV and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.