Short-lived Jeopardy! host ousted as producer after sexism row

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards, who stepped down as host after just nine days following a sexism row, has been removed from the long-running US television quiz show entirely, its studio said Tuesday.

Richards had been named to replace Alex Trebek, who died of cancer last year, but his tenure in the presenting slot was cut short by controversy over past employment discrimination lawsuits and the emergence this month of disparaging comments he made involving multiple women.

Sony Pictures Television informed employees on Tuesday that Richards "will no longer be serving as (executive producer) of Wheel [of Fortune] and Jeopardy! effective immediately."

"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," wrote executive Suzanne Prete.

"That clearly has not happened."

Richards had been due to share hosting duties with "The Big Bang Theory" alum Mayim Bialik, following a long hunt for Trebek's replacement.

But days after the decision was announced, comments Richard had made about women on a podcast eight years ago drew criticism of the 46-year-old's appointment.

Sports and pop culture website trawled through episodes of "The Randumb Show," a podcast Richards hosted in 2013-14, finding a number of comments relating to women and nudity.

Renewed media attention was also drawn to employment discrimination lawsuits filed by women when Richards was executive producer of "The Price is Right."

Prete said production of future episodes "remains on schedule" and that she would "be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward" along with former "Wife Swap" producer Michael Davies.

Bialik will temporarily host the syndicated shows and remains set to take charge of special primetime events and spin-offs, including a new collegiate championship.

"Jeopardy!" has been running in one form or another on US television since 1964, scooping up a bevy of awards over the decades.

In a twist on the quiz show format, contestants are given answers, to which they must provide the question.