(WJW) — Mike Richards, who was named the new host of “Jeopardy!,” is stepping down.
Sony Pictures Television said Richards would remain as the show’s executive producer.
The announcement comes after his apology earlier this week for sexist comments he made on his podcast.
“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,” Richards said in a note to the “Jeopardy!” staff on Friday. “As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
He also said a search for a permanent syndicated host will resume. In the meantime, he said, guest hosts will take over during production for the new season.
Richards, an executive producer for “Jeopardy!” “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” was accused of pregnancy discrimination in a 2010 lawsuit.
According to a report from “The Ringer”, over the course of the 41 episodes of “The Randum Show,” Richards frequently commented on women’s wardrobes and even one female employee’s weight. On the podcasts, he also asked a female assistant and a female cohost if they ever took nude photos, the Ringer reported. He referred to his cohost as a “booth ho.”
He said in his apology earlier this week:
“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. 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 was one of many guests hosts, which included “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton, legendary “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as the show searched for a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek.
It was recently revealed that Richards would handle the daily duties behind the podium while “Big Bang Theory” actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik would do primetime tournaments. The decision to go with the show’s EP left many fans scratching their heads and saying he basically gave himself the job.
The Associated Press contributed to this report