James Holzhauer, who became a “Jeopardy” fan favorite thanks to his 32-game winning stream on the popular quiz show, took to social media to celebrate the firing of executive producer and short-lived host Mike Richards. Suzanne Prete, the EVP of Business and Strategy for “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune,” informed staff earlier today that Richards was exiting the programs. Richards also executive produced “Wheel of Fortune.” Richards was originally named the new host of “Jeopardy,” but sexist, racist, and offensive comments he made in the past resurfaced and cost him the gig. Richards was fired as executive producer 11 days after losing the hosting job.
“Do I think Mike Richards’ podcast comments were appropriate for polite society? No,” Holzhauer wrote on social media. “But did he deserve the benefit of the doubt for the job he did running Jeopardy? Also no.”
Holzhauer followed his comments with a separate photo from “The Wizard of Oz” with the famous quote: “Ding dong the Witch is dead!”
“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of ‘Wheel’ and ‘Jeopardy!’ effective immediately,” Prete wrote in her letter to staff. “We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at ‘Jeopardy!’ it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.”
As noted by Prete, the firestorm around Richards’ involvement with “Jeopardy” continued after he was fired as host. In a report out published by The Daily Beast, several of the show’s former champions came forward to say that Richards intentionally sabotaged the show.
“It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror and shooting yourself in the face…You couldn’t intentionally sabotage the show worse than this,” said 11-time champion Arthur Chu said, describing Richards as “another problematic showbiz guy with a very well-paying job behind the camera.”
“Jeopardy” has yet to announce a replace host for Richards. “The Bing Bang Theory” veteran Mayim Bialik was announced as a co-host when Richards was first announced, and she will continue her hosting duties as planned.
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