Jeopardy! season 38 premieres with ousted host Mike Richards behind podium of iconic game show in pre-recorded episode… as the search for permanent host continues
- Ousted Jeopardy! host and executive producer Mike Richards hosted the premiere episode of Season 38 which aired Monday
- Richards taped five episodes in the one day when he was named permanent host of the popular game show; ABC will air all five episodes
- He was fired from the show soon after being named to the highly-coveted position due to previous sexual harassment lawsuits and offensive comments
- Mayim Bialik, who was announced as a host for special episodes, will take over the main gig until producers decide how to move forward
- Season 37 was hosted by 16 guests who ran the show in place of Alex Trebek after he passed away in November 2020 from pancreatic cancer
Mike Richards was behind the Jeopardy! podium for the Season 38 premiere on Monday despite being fired last month due to previous sexual harassment lawsuits and degrading comments.
On August 11, officials announced that Richards and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik would take over the highly-coveted hosting gig but on August 20, Richards announced that he was stepping down after a single day of taping.
ABC stated that they planned to air the five episodes that Richards recorded before having Bialik take over the position full-time.
Richards, a game show veteran who served as both host and producer over the years, was the second in a series of guest hosts who filled in for the remaining tapings for Season 37, following the tragic death of longtime host Alex Trebek.
Some fans caught off guard: Mike Richards was behind the podium serving as host for the season 38 premiere of Jeopardy! on Monday
After testing out 16 host last season, Richards landed the coveted job as permanent host of Jeopardy!, 15 months after he’d been named the executive producer. Bialik was slated to host special spin-off episodes.
But scandal surfaced in connection to comments he made during podcasts in 2013 and 2014 that contained demeaning remarks about women and minorities.
There were also be accusations of poor workplace conduct and sexual harassment.
In the running: Richards, 46, was announced as the permanent host of Jeopardy! on August 11; he would be out of the host job by August 20 after comments he made, that contained demeaning remarks about women and minorities, surfaced
By August 20, he was ousted from the hosting gig and a week and a half later he was let go as executive producer of the show.
Fans of the show did not mince words when news broke that Richards would be at the podium for the premiere episode.
‘Not looking forward to seeing Mike Richards host tonight’s Jeopardy,’ said one fan on Twitter. ‘But ya know what would make up for it? An announcement before the show that they hired [Buzzy Cohen as host].’
Scandal: Richards’ remarks were reportedly made during podcasts in 2013 and 2014; he is a game show veteran as both a host and producer; Richards was also outed as exec producer
Others shared their thoughts on Richards as host after watching the premiere episode.
‘Hate-watching the premiere of #MikeRichards as the new host of #jeopardy,’ another viewer tweeted, which was a common sentiment. Others shared their thoughts that producers could have moved on without ever using Richards as host.
‘Awkward seeing Mike Richards coming out to host #Jeopardy. No crawl or disclaimer,’ another person shared on Twitter before adding, ‘Thought there could be creative editing to work around eps he did. Take a deep breath, he’s only there a week.’
Emotional farewell: The last episode of Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek as host aired on January 8
Despite viewers displeasure, the five episodes that Richards taped will likely be broadcast sequentially this week, all the while the search for a permanent host continues.
Mayim Bialik, 45, will serve as guest host for several episodes; what happens after that is still to be determined.
The last episode of Jeopardy! with Trebek as host aired posthumously on January 8. Trebek passed away on November 8, 2020 after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
RIP: Trebek passed away on November 8, 2020; the longtime host revealed he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in March 2019