Newly named “Jeopardy!” host Mike Richards is stepping down from his role amid controversy over past sexist and offensive comments he made in a 2014 podcast. In a memo Richards wrote to “Jeopardy!” staff, Richards announced that his “past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow” on the show.

Richards said, “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.” Richards added that Sony Pictures Television, which produces the show, “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,” and apologized again, saying, “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.”  As of press time, Jeopardy!’s 38th season was still set to premiere on Sept. 13.

Richards’ announcement comes just a week after the announcement that he and former “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik were to alternate as “Jeopardy!” hosts.  The controversy surrounding Richards refers to comments he made on his “Randumb Show” podcast back in 2014, where he made sexist and racist remarks. The podcast episodes have been pulled from circulation.

Editorial credit: Ryan J. Thompson /

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