The drama concerning Jeopardy!‘s host saga continues to play out. After naming Mike Richards as Alex Trebek’s full-time replacement on the quiz show program, the series had to reverse course after problematic comments from his past resurfaced. Since then, there have been murmurs that this drama could be taken to the next level, as Richards may be preparing for a legal battle.
Matt Belloni, the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, wrote in his What I’m Hearing newsletter that Richards hired attorney Bryan Freedman after he was let go from the show. According to Belloni, Freedman is “already blaming” Sony for how the situation was handled. As a result, the conversation has now turned to how Sony can handle this matter with Richards. Sony reportedly has three options on the table in regards to the former producer — pay him a settlement, keep him within the Sony family in some fashion, or cut him off entirely and risk him suing the company. The former THR editor reached out to both Sony and Freedman, but they both declined to comment. Now, this news should be taken with a grain of salt as neither Richards nor anyone from the Jeopardy! team has confirmed these latest developments.
Of course, Jeopardy! fans know that Richards was fired from his role as producer of both the quiz show and Wheel of Fortune. His firing came shortly after he stepped down from the hosting position. Sony reportedly told staff about the changes on Aug. 31. Variety got a copy of the memo that the company sent out to the staff, which read, “I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel 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. That clearly has not happened.”
“Michael Davies from Embassy Row has agreed to help with production on an interim basis until further notice. Michael and I will work together with all of you in the weeks ahead to ensure that production remains on schedule and we do not miss a beat as we head into the new season,” the memo continued. “I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks.” In light of Richards’ firing, Mayim Bialik was named as the temporary Jeopardy! guest host. An official, full-time replacement has not been named yet.