48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Source: Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 / Getty

Nine days after he was officially tapped to replace Alex Trebek as the full-time host of Jeopardy!, Mike Richards has stepped down as the host of the beloved quiz show amid a myriad of scandals.

Richards, who also serves as the show’s executive producer, saw his rise quickly come crashing down after audio surfaced regarding comments he made on a podcast series eight years ago. Sony Pictures TV confirmed Richards’ decision to step aside as host and in a statement, Richards said the controversies surrounding him were “too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”

His departure comes one day after the Anti-Defamation League called for an investigation into Richards following a report by The Ringer highlighting Richards’ inflammatory remarks regarding Jews, women, and other marginalized groups in episodes of “The Randumb Show” recorded in 2013 and 2014.

The decision to pick Richards over established names such as LeVar Burton came from Sony Pictures TV brass. Richards was seen as a “neutral personality” who could fit seamlessly into the show’s prestige rather than overshadow it. Instead, the trouble behind him made him more known for infamy rather than asking rapid-fire questions on the beloved quiz show.

“We support Mike’s decision to step down as host,” Sony Pictures TV said. “We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past.  We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward.”

Richards and others had been under fire after former Price Is Right models accused him of discrimination after becoming pregnant while working on the show. He was named in two discrimination lawsuits regarding those accusations.

With Jeopardy! without a host, fans have begun circulating Burton’s name as a potential replacement. He was among the final group of celebrity hosts before Sony Pictures TV execs lean towards Richards as the permanent replacement on August 11. The show cycled through big names such as Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Ken Jennings, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Aaron Rodgers and former contestant Buzzy Cohen as potential hosts throughout the summer to try and replace Trebek, who passed away last November of cancer at age 80.

RELATED: LeVar Burton Graciously Thanks Fans After Jeopardy Locks In New Host

RELATED: LeVar Burton’s Debut Jeopardy! Episode Broke An Unexpected Record

Mike Richards Out As ‘Jeopardy!’ Host As Fans Call For LeVar Burton To Replace Him  was originally published on