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Mike Richards steps down as 'Jeopardy!' host

Mike Richards, the brand new host of the "Jeopardy!" game show, says he has "stepped down." CNN's Brian Stelter reports on the controversial comments Richards has made in the past.

Posted: Aug 20, 2021 2:41 PM

Mike Richards, the new host of "Jeopardy!," has issued an apology after a number of derogatory remarks about little people, Jews, people receiving unemployment benefits and sexist comments he made about women resurfaced.

Richards, who executive produced the game show before being named the full-time replacement for the late Alex Trebek, made the comments in 2013 and 2014 on the podcast "The Randumb Show," which he hosted. The podcast was a peek behind the scenes of "The Price Is Right," which Richards co-executive produced at the time.

The podcast, which Richards often recorded from his office, had 41 episodes, all reviewed by The Ringer. CNN has not independently confirmed the comments made on the podcast and the episodes have since been removed.

The website reports that in 2014, Richards made a number of comments about women's bodies, including asking two younger women if they'd taken nude photos of themselves and complaining that one piece bathing suits made women look "frumpy and overweight."

In other episodes, he called his co-host a derogatory term for people of short stature, and used the same slur to describe actress Kristin Chenoweth, according to the report.

In an audio excerpt shared in the story, Richards made critical comments about a co-host for both receiving unemployment benefits and giving a dollar to a woman in need.

In another episode, according to The Ringer, following a nonspecific comment about big noses, Richards said "Ixnay on the ose-nay," he replied. "She's not an ew-Jay."

CNN has contacted representatives for Richards and Sony, which produces "Jeopardy!," 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," Richards said in a statement to the Ringer. "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."

Before Richards was announced as the new host last week, he had defended himself against allegations he mistreated colleagues in a previous role with "The Price is Right."

"Jeopardy!" is set to film new episodes Thursday. LeVar Burton, Aaron Rodgers and former "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings were among the people seen as frontrunners to replace Trebek as host of the long-running quiz show. Richards will host the nightly show, with Mayim Bialik set to host prime-time specials.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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