Mayim Bialik fills in as temporary ‘Jeopardy!’ host after Mike Richards steps down
Bialik will host the next three weeks of episodes and other temporary hosts will be named until they find a new permanent host.
Mayim Bialik is stepping in temporarily as host of “Jeopardy!” after Mike Richards stepped down Friday following backlash about his previous offensive comments, Sony Pictures Television announced Monday.
Richards will open the 38th season on Sept. 13, after taping initial episodes Thursday. But Bialik will host the next three weeks of episodes, airing from Sept. 20 to Oct. 8, and will tape them this week. Additional guest hosts will be announced later, until a new permanent emcee is named.
Earlier this month, “Jeopardy!” announced that Richards would take over as host for the nightly syndicated game show and “The Big Bang Theory” star would take on primetime specials and tournaments on ABC.
Bialik currently stars on Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat,” which won’t return until midseason, freeing up Bialik to step in.
In a letter to the show’s team Friday, obtained by USA TODAY, Richards said he was “stepping down as host effective immediately.” He also noted that “as a result, we will be canceling production today.”
On Thursday, Richards, 46, came under fire after past offensive comments were resurfaced by a report from The Ringer, published Wednesday. It included several quotes from a since-deleted episode of Richards’ podcast, “The Randumb Show,” which he hosted in 2013 and 2014 as a way to promote a behind-the-scenes look at CBS game show “The Price is Right,” for which he was a co-executive producer.
In the podcast, Richards repeatedly used offensive language to describe and denigrate women’s bodies and he also made an offensive comment about Jewish people, according to The Ringer’s review of the 41 episodes available online until Tuesday.
Richards’ letter said that Sony Pictures Television is resuming its search for a permanent syndicated host and will bringing back guest hosts in the meantime. Richards will appear as host for the pre-recorded episodes airing the week of Sept. 13. The first new guest host will begin on Sept. 20.
Though he will no longer host, Richards will stay on as executive producer for the long-running game show, Sony said in a statement. He has served in the role since May 2019.
“Jeopardy!” spent the past seven months rotating 16 guest hosts at the podium once manned by late host Alex Trebek. Some, including LeVar Burton and former champ Ken Jennings, were contenders for the permanent slot, while others, such as “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, were paying tribute to Trebek’s legacy.