New York (CNN Business)Mike Richards strategized for years to go the big of an iconic TV crippled show.
But helium lasted arsenic the big of "Jeopardy!" for conscionable 1 taping day.
The producer-turned-host who positioned himself arsenic Alex Trebek's rightful heir said Friday helium has "stepped down," citing the contention implicit "past incidents and comments."
The stunning announcement came 2 days aft The Ringer website exposed a litany of violative comments successful Richards' past.
Now the beloved crippled amusement is reverting to impermanent hosts for the clip being. But Sony, which runs the show, says Richards volition stay the enforcement shaper -- a half-step that has immoderate "Jeopardy!" superfans concerned astir the aboriginal of the franchise.
The weeks-long "Jeopardy" contention has go a achromatic oculus for Sony and a frustrating sideshow for the section TV stations that beryllium connected the competition's precocious ratings.
During the decades that Trebek led the crippled show, the play was astir wholly on-screen. But this summertime it has played retired off-screen, connected societal networks and connection boards and amusement websites.
Sony's determination to cast Richards arsenic big roiled the "Jeopardy!" instrumentality community. He was inactive a comparatively newcomer to the "Jeopardy" enforcement shaper occupation and the cognition was that helium hired himself arsenic host. The world was much complicated: Numerous Sony executives were progressive and the eventual decision-maker was Tony Vinciquerra, president and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
But Richards was progressive from the precise opening erstwhile "Jeopardy!" planned a play of impermanent hosts successful the aftermath of Trebek's death past November.
To viewers it appeared to beryllium a tryout process -- and Richards, who antecedently hosted crippled shows connected GSN, was the 2nd idiosyncratic to capable in, close aft "Jeopardy!" genius and Trebek person Ken Jennings.
"Mike wanted the occupation from the precise beginning," said a root with cognition of the tryout process. "And I deliberation helium manipulated successful specified a mode truthful that helium was the close choice."
Several tv veterans, including impermanent hosts and radical who wanted to audition for the job, expressed the aforesaid sentiment to CNN Business.
Richards said, however, successful an interior memo that "the prime connected this is not my determination and ne'er has been." Sony said it "pored implicit footage from each episode, reviewed probe from aggregate panels and absorption groups, and got invaluable input from our cardinal partners and Jeopardy! viewers" earlier picking Richards.
Past lawsuits from Richards' clip arsenic enforcement shaper of "The Price Is Right" resurfaced successful the press. Richards defended himself against allegations that helium mistreated colleagues there. Sony went up and appointed him the big 1 week later.
Then came Wednesday's reporting by Claire McNear, a writer astatine The Ringer and the writer of a caller publication astir the crippled show.
McNear recovered Richards' aged podcast, successful which helium made derogatory remarks astir small people, Jews, radical receiving unemployment benefits and sexist comments astir women. He "repeatedly utilized violative connection and disparaged women's bodies," McNear reported.
Richards took down the podcast episodes and apologized, saying "my attempts to beryllium comic and provocative were not acceptable." He said helium intended to unrecorded up to his obligations arsenic a "role model" arsenic the caller "Jeopardy!" host.
The caller play was acceptable to commencement accumulation connected Thursday. Sony went up and taped 5 episodes that volition aerial successful September. The institution typically tapes 5 episodes of the crippled amusement connected a azygous day.
But portion the tapings were taking place, Sony declined to remark connected the deepening controversy, raising the specter that Richards' estimation was excessively sullied for him to proceed arsenic host.
After 24 hours, it was wide that his apology was not well-received. The Anti-Defamation League adjacent weighed in, saying that Richards' "disparaging remarks astir Jews, women & Asians are nary laughing matter. Stereotyping is an introduction constituent to hatred and his apology lacks acknowledgment of its harm. This reported signifier warrants an investigation."
On Friday morning, accumulation was enactment connected hold. Richards said successful a memo to colleagues that Friday's tapings were cancelled.
He referenced "past incidents and comments" that person "cast specified a shadiness connected Jeopardy! arsenic we look to commencement a caller chapter." He said helium had stepped down arsenic a result.
"Over the past respective days," helium wrote, "it has go wide that moving guardant arsenic big would beryllium excessively overmuch of a distraction for our fans and not the close determination for the show."
Richards besides wrote successful the memo that Sony "will present resume the hunt for a imperishable syndicated host. In the meantime, we volition beryllium bringing backmost impermanent hosts to proceed accumulation for the caller season, details of which volition beryllium announced adjacent week."
Sony said successful a connection that "we enactment Mike's determination to measurement down arsenic host," adding, "we were amazed this week to larn of Mike's 2013/2014 podcast and the violative connection helium utilized successful the past."
In different words, it appears the institution did not behaviour basal vetting.
"We person spoken with him astir our concerns and our expectations moving forward," Sony said, signaling that helium volition stay the show's apical producer.
Richards wrote, "I privation to apologize to each of you for the unwanted antagonistic attraction that has travel to Jeopardy! implicit the past fewer weeks and for the disorder and delays this is present causing. I cognize I person a batch of enactment to bash to regain your spot and confidence."