With the new season right around the corner on September 13, Richards got started right away taping new episodes of Jeopardy! once being awarded the position. According to The New York Times, the taping included several important guests in attendance, including former guest hosts and Jeopardy! prodigies Buzzy Cohen and Ken Jennings.
But per the report, neither Cohen nor Jennings got to actually see Richards' debut in the studio. When they arrived at the studio in Culver City, three sources told the NYT that Richards was "too nervous" to have them on the sound stage and instead escorted Cohen and Jennings to a nearby green room where they proceeded to watch the taping.
Apparently, one source compared not letting Cohen and Jennings attend the taping to "inviting Joe DiMaggio back to Yankee Stadium and not letting him in the dugout."
Sony seemingly pushed back against these claims, saying that access to the taping was restricted due to COVID-19 protocols, while also noting that Anthony Vinciquerra, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s chief executive, was not allowed on the sound stage.
Regardless, Richards has since ceased taping more episodes and has been transferred back to his position behind cameras. Now, Mayim Bialik, who was awarded a hosting position for Jeopardy! primetime specials will lead new episodes until the quiz show can once again book more guest hosts to audition for the role.
Richards' decision to step back came following a string of controversies stemming from his past. Several harassment and discrimination lawsuits from his time working at The Price Is Right have reemerged online in recent weeks, as have past controversial comments he made on a podcast.
In an internal memo to staff, Mike wrote, "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."
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