Mike Richards, the executive producer of Jeopardy who was formerly selected as the show’s newest host, is now out of a job. Richards previously stepped down as the host of the longstanding show after allegations of him sexually harassing his former coworkers surfaced.
Now, Richards has been removed from his duties as the executive producer, People reports.
Suzanne Prete, the executive vice president of business and strategy for Jeopardy, said in a letter sent to staff on Tuesday that Richards’ exit from the show would be “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,” Prete wrote in the letter, obtained by People. “That clearly has not happened.”
As the disruption has seemingly caused quite the stir in the showroom, chatter among Twitter has taken off, too.
Fans were enraged to know that Richards was chosen over LeVar Burton and CNN analyst Laura Coates. Burton fans sought to have the Reading Rainbow host replace the late Alex Trebek. A petition was created, stating that the Star Trek actor has “inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds,” as Blavity previously reported.
The petition amassed more than 85,000 signatures at the time, as people pushed to “show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we’d all love to see him as the next host.” (The petition now has more than 275,000 signatures.)
Burton later received the opportunity to guest host the show, as did Robin Roberts and Rosie Perez. After filming, Burton said it was “really scary,” but was reminded by his wife to show up and be his best self.
As their wants and the public push went void, it was later revealed that Trebek himself had previously said who he’d want to replace him on the show, and, as Blavity previously reported, it definitely wasn’t Richards.
During an interview with TMZ, Trebek named Coates as a possible woman successor.
At the time of the revelation, Coates acknowledged Trebek’s wishes and said she was “humbled.”
Now that Richards is out of his job as host and executive producer, it’s unclear who will be named the permanent replacement. As for now, Michael Davies, the president and CEO of production company Embassy Row, will fill in as the interim producer until further notice. Mayim Bialik will serve as the interim host, NBC News reported.
“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,” Prete said. “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.”
Richards has apologized since stepping down and appeared to take responsibility for his actions.
“Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry,” he said.