Mayim Bialik to Guest Host Jeopardy! Following Mike Richards' Exit

Mayim Bialik to Guest Host Jeopardy! Following Mike Richards' Exit

Mayim Bialik will fill in as guest host of Jeopardy! this week following Mike Richards' departure.

According to Sony Pictures Television, the actress is scheduled to tape three weeks' worth of episodes (15) when production resumes this week. Jeopardy! will then bring on additional guest hosts as its search for Alex Trebek's successor continues.

The news comes less than two weeks after Bialik was named host of Jeopardy!'s primetime specials and spin-offs and Richards was named host of the daily syndicated program. Richards then stepped down from the position last week after offensive remarks he made on a podcast between 2013 and 2014 resurfaced.

"It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter," he said in a letter shared with the Jeopardy! team on Aug. 20 and obtained by NBC News. "As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, 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."

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Sony Pictures Television said Richards will maintain his role as executive producer.

"We support Mike's decision to step down as host," the company said in a statement to NBC. "We were surprised this week to learn of Mike's 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward. Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect."

Mike Richards, Mayim Bialik
Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images, FOX via Getty Images

According to The Ringer, Richards made disparaging remarks about Jewish people, women and Haiti on his podcast The Randumb Show about seven years ago. The original recordings, which E! News has not listened to, have since been deleted.

"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," he said in a statement to E! News. "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. Even with the passage of time, it's more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them."

Richards also received backlash after viewers recalled his involvement in a discrimination lawsuit. According to The Associated Press, a former model on the Price Is Right, another show Richards executive produced, named Brandi Cochran received more than $7.7 million in punitive damages in 2012 after a jury determined she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Richards denied the mistreatment allegations during the trial. Production company FremantleMedia appealed the ruling, THR continued, and the appeals court decided there was sufficient evidence for another trial. According to Variety, a settlement was later reached.

"These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show," Richards also wrote in part of an email to Jeopardy! employees earlier this month. "I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys."

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