Mike Richards’ rise to the “Jeopardy!” throne continues to get stuck in his own messy past.
The quiz show’s executive producer, who was officially named as Alex Trebek’s successor last week, has offered yet another apology after his old podcast was revealed by The Ringer, chock full of segments during which he “repeatedly used offensive language and disparaged women’s bodies.”
In a 2014 episode of “The Randumb Show,” Richards asked his female assistant and co-host about taking “booby photos.” In another, he complained that one-piece bathing suits made women look “really frumpy and overweight.”
He also “repeatedly” used a derogatory slur for little people in talking about Kristin Chenoweth and made an antisemitic remark about big noses.
The archives of the podcast were scrubbed from the internet after The Ringer reached out for comment.
“It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. 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,” Richards said in a statement to the Daily News.
“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.”
After being named the new “Jeopardy!” host, Richards offered staff his first apology, for two discrimination lawsuits from his time at “The Price is Right.” Richards wrote them off as “employment disputes.”
The choice of Richards was already controversial for “Jeopardy!” fans. A poll showed that just 3% of respondents wanted the executive producer to succeed the beloved Trebek. In the poll, actor LeVar Burton was the top choice at 14%, with Mayim Bialik, who was chosen to host special episodes of the show, second at 13%.
Burton’s episodes as guest host had low ratings, but they aired during the Summer Olympics, which was seen by some as Richards rigging the process.
After Richards was announced as host, Emmy-nominated actress Yvette Nicole Brown congratulated Bialik in a tweet, but wrote that “the way the search was handled did LeVar Burton dirty.”
In a 2018 interview, Trebek suggested attorney and CNN legal analyst Laura Coates to host “Jeopardy!” if the producers decided to hire a woman to replace him, and some fans wanted the show’s “Greatest of All Time” champ, Ken Jennings, to get the job. Jennings was the first guest host after Trebek’s death, handling six weeks of shows in January and February.
TV writer and producer Nell Scovell, who wrote a book detailing the sexism she experienced working for David Letterman and on other TV shows, tweeted today that Richards is “the anti-Alex Trebek.”
Sony declined to comment when reached by The News.
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