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Mike Richards Steps Down As Host Of 'Jeopardy!'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Less than two weeks after being named as the new host of "Jeopardy!," Mike Richards has stepped away from the role following a series of controversies about his past.

48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards
UNSPECIFIED - JUNE 25: In this screenshot released on June 25, Mike Richards accepts the award for Outstanding Game Show for Jeopardy! during the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on June 25, 2021. (Photo by Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images)

In an internal memo Friday morning, the 46-year-old Richards said he will no longer host the show, but indicated he will remain on as executive producer.

The comments that sank Richards came on podcasts in 2013 and 2104. According to The Ringer, Richards made disparaging remarks about women, little people, the mentally disabled and Jews during episodes of the "The Randumb Show."

In addition, discrimination lawsuits filed by women who worked on "The Price is Right" -- where Richards was executive producer from 2008 to 2018 -- recently resurfaced. Richards came on as executive producer of Jeopardy! in 2019.

Richards had just started shooting new episodes on Thursday.

"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," Richards wrote in the memo. "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. As a result, we will be canceling production today."

On Aug. 11, Sony Pictures Television announced that Richards would begin the 38th season of the show as the full-time host, while "The Big Bang Theory" star Mayim Bialik would host the show's prime time and spinoff series.

He said an announcement on the guest hosts and the resumption of production will be made next week. It's unclear exactly what role Bialik will play during the upcoming months.

"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 added. "I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence."

Longtime host Alex Trebek passed away last November after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Trebek had been the face of "Jeopardy!" for 35 years and more than 18,000 episodes.

Since his passing, the show has tested several guest hosts, including the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen and David Faber.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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