The Truth About Mike Richards Stepping Down As Jeopardy! Host

A slew of celebrities have been guest-hosting "Jeopardy!" this summer as production searched for a permanent host, but it seems like Mike Richards' future on the show is finally determined.

In early August, Richards was in "advanced talks" to take over the quiz show, according to Variety. Richards first appeared as a guest host in February before figures like like Robin Roberts and Aaron Rodgers took turns. Despite his hefty resume as a producer on game shows like "The Price is Right" and "Let's Make A Deal," fans did not seem impressed. One wrote, "I have watched 'Jeopardy!' every day for decades. The Mike Richards news is a bummer."

The controversy reached a fever pitch when reports surfaced detailing his behavior on "The Price is Right," per The Daily Beast. According to the report, models accused him of "discrimination and harassment." A lawsuit alleged that "Richards decided that the models' skirts should be shorter and said that he liked the models to look as if they were going out on a date. At his suggestion, models wore bikinis on the show more frequently." Sony Pictures Television did not comment on the allegations, but the rumors certainly cast Richards in a negative light. By August 19, more offensive remarks from years prior resurfaced, adding further fuel to the fire.

As criticism continued to mount against Richards, he made a major announcement. Keep reading for more details.

Mike Richards will no longer appear on "Jeopardy!"

Mike Richards stepped down as host of "Jeopardy!" and released a statement via Sony on August 20.

"Dear team, it pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter," the statement read (via Twitter). "As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and I 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 our show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today."

Richards went on to say that Sony will continue to search for a permanent host and guest hosts will return for the meantime. "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," he concluded. "I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence."

Mike Richards isn't done with "Jeopardy!" just yet

Mike Richards will no longer host "Jeopardy!" but that doesn't mean he won't still be involved with the show. Richards will stay on as an executive producer, according to Variety. Sony Pictures Television confirmed his exit on August 20, writing, "We support Mike's decision to step down as host." The studio wrote that they "were surprised" upon learning about "the offensive language he used in the past," seemingly acknowledging resurfaced remarks about women, Jewish people, and disabled people. The statement continued, "We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward."

August 19 was his first — and last — day of taping and Sony made it clear that he would have to polish up his act. "Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the 'Jeopardy!' team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect," Sony concluded.

Although guest hosts will continue to fill in as production searches for a permanent host, there is one person who Alex Trebek did have in mind as his replacement. Keep reading for more details.

Alex Trebek had a specific replacement in mind

Alex Trebek didn't want just anyone to replace him as the host of "Jeopardy!" — he knew exactly who should stand behind the lectern. Specifically, a CNN anchor.

During a July 2018 interview with TMZ founder Harvey Levin for his "OBJECTified" show, Trebek revealed who should take his place on the iconic quiz show, according to The Grio. Los Angeles Kings announcer Alex Faust was his first pick followed by Ben Mankiewicz of Turner Classic Movies. CNN legal analyst Laura Coates was his choice for a female replacement. Coates was obviously thrilled at the time and tweeted that she was "incredibly honored" and "humbled" that Trebek knew of her and thought she would "be a great host of my fave game show ever that I grew up watching."

Coates was not a guest host this summer, as names like Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and others filled in. She did not respond to the video of Trebek resurfacing, but she did share one of her favorite quotes of his on Twitter on August 18: "Don't tell me what you believe in. I'll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination." Whether that means anything about her future on the series, we'll just have to see.