Why Is Mike Richards Stepping Down as 'Jeopardy!' Host? Read His Full Remarks

Mike Richards has stepped down as the new host of Jeopardy! a little more than a week after it was announced he would fill the role.

Richards felt his appointment had become "too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show."

On August 11, the popular game show announced it had found a permanent replacement for the late Alex Trebek in the form of not one but two hosts: Richards would take over as host for the nightly syndicated Jeopardy! while Mayim Bialik would host primetime specials and tournaments on ABC.

Backlash over Richards' hiring came swiftly from fans who accused Richards, who also serves as the show's executive producer, of essentially picking himself for the position.

Richards' past was also scrutinized, beginning with reports that he was accused by multiple models of discriminating against them when he was the producer of The Price Is Right.

On Wednesday, The Ringer published a story that contained comments Richards made on a podcast he hosted in 2013 and 2014 called "The Randumb Show." He was quoted as making disparaging remarks about women, Jews and other groups, which led the Anti-Defamation League to call for an investigation.

Sony Pictures Television released the following statement from Richards on Friday morning that he provided to the staff of the game show:

mike richards jeopardy
Mike Richards announced on Friday he will no longer take over as the new "Jeopardy!" host. Sony Pictures Television

"It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.

"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. 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.

"SPT [Sony Pictures Television] will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.

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

Jeopardy! began production on its new season with Richards hosting on Thursday but announced that Friday's tapings had been canceled. Sony Pictures Television said a new round of guest hosts will be used for the upcoming season. However, the studio also said the Richards would stay on as executive producer.

"We support Mike's decision to step down as host," Sony said in a statement. "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."

Updated 08/20/21, 11:10 a.m. ET: This story has been updated to include more background information.