Jeopardy! executive producer, who almost became the game show’s permanent host, Mike Richards is reportedly getting ready for a legal battle with Sony should he also lose his EP position. Former THR editor Matt Belloni shares that sources say attorney Bryan Freedman (who previously repped Chris Harrison and Megyn Kelly during their exits from ABC and Fox News) is being considered for representation should that happen. Richard’s primary role became subject to firing after the added drama that took place once Sony made his hosting announcement.
Richards rescinded his invitation as host due to controversy surrounding some disparaging remarks he made concerning women and various racial remarks. It also came out that the producer had also been the focus of a sexual harassment lawsuit. “It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” he wrote in his statement. “As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role. However, 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.” Sony, at the time, stood by Richards’ decision to turn down the hosting gig but announced that he would continue on the show as an EP. It’s being reported that after Richard’s apology and resignation as host, many fans of the legendary show questioned why Sony would keep him around considering the resurfaced legal troubles and disturbing remarks from his past.
Sony has continued its search for a new host and insiders share that Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings is a frontrunner for the job. After taking on the tough role of being the first guest host following Alex Trebek’s passing, Jennings received strong reviews –– and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a familiar face with the show’s audience. While Twitter has continued its campaign to see LeVar Burton take the job, it seems Sony’s not looking to hire someone with a reputation that was built outside of the show.