Jeopardy's Mike Richards Addresses Hosting Situation As Resurfaced Price Is Right Lawsuits Get Attention

Jeopardy!'s search for its next permanent host may soon come to an end, as reports pointed to the game show's executive producer Mike Richards being in advanced negotiations to take the job as Alex Trebek's successor. Richards' potential selection drew criticism from audiences after some celebrities openly campaigned for the job, and those standing against Richards' getting such a prominent promotion have been using social media to draw attention to Richards' spotty past. Most recently, Jeopardy! fans are shining a new light on multiple discriminatory lawsuits from Richards' past on The Price Is Right that make his possibly hiring quite questionable, and the executive producer has responded.

Mike Richards formerly served as an executive producer for The Price Is Right for a decade, and was tied to several discrimination lawsuits filed by former models on the popular game show. In one specific instance, Richards was mentioned in a suit filed by Brandi Cochran that alleged insensitive comments were made regarding pregnant women. Cochran initially won the lawsuit, but it later settled on appeal. In light of the resurfaced news, Deadline reported Richards sent a memo to Jeopardy! employees which both confirmed the reports that he's in talks to permanently host, and also directly addressed the resurfaced allegations from years ago.

I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price is Right ten years ago. These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys. I am very proud of my time on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal. During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera. It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.

Mike Richards' statement would appear to again dispute the claims alleged against him, which have made headlines again as of late. In Brandi Cochran's lawsuit, it was alleged (via THR) that Richards' bemoaned the announcement of her pregnancy, and stated that he joked about the chances that one of the remaining models (Cochran) would get pregnant after he'd recently fired five others.

Cochran also alleged that when she informed Michael Richards she was having twins, he put his head in his hands, and it's claimed that he stormed up to her a day later with criticisms about the details of her pregnancy. Cochran later suffered a miscarriage with one of the twins, and was not rehired by The Price Is Right. Separate from that, The Daily Beast reported another piece of the lawsuit that claimed Richards allegedly decided the models' shorts should be shorter, as if they were going on a date, and that bikinis should be worn more often on the show.

As mentioned, Mike Richards also referenced the reports saying he was in advanced negotiations to become the new host of Jeopardy!, laying it out in the memo as such:

It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing. I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.

It would seem that Mike Richards is still up for the job, but that could change. It's unclear what other candidates are also in the running for the hosting gig, though we know celebrities like LeVar Burton have openly pushed for the job. We will have to wait and see if Richards is the final decision as the next host of Jeopardy! or if another name surfaces in the coming days.

Jeopardy! still has yet to make a final decision on Mike Richards hosting, but CinemaBlend will keep an eye out for updates on that front. In a bit of lesser drama for the show, be sure to catch up on the problem fans had with recent champion Matt Amodio.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.