Despite essentially inserting himself into the Jeopardy! host selection process, which very publicly went down in flames and tainted the revered game show with scandal, Mike Richards was allowed to return to his executive producer role this week. However, after the hosting debacle, that transition is not going smoothly as Richards isn’t exactly beloved behind the scenes, and his return has been plagued with rumors that Sony Pictures Television is prepared to negotiate his exit. Via The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Richards still has obstacles to clear. He still must win over the anti-Richards camp inside “Jeopardy!” Many longtime staffers have not taken to him since he succeeded the beloved Harry Friedman, who ended his long run as executive producer in 2020. Mr. Richards has a force-of-nature type of persona, with sharp elbows that rub many of the “Jeopardy!” veterans the wrong way, people close to the show said. Earlier this week at a staff meeting, Mr. Richards apologized to employees for his past comments and said he was committed to regaining their trust, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Richards also caused a great deal of contention by sidelining Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings, who many fans and crew believed was Alex Trebek’s choice to be his successor. According to the WSJ report, Richards had inserted himself into the running to be host, and by the time serious deliberations began, Jennings was never under real consideration for the top hosting job. Would he have been without Richards’ manipulating the selection process? That’s an argument that’s no doubt being revisited as Jennings has emerged from this whole debacle as a top choice to be the new Jeopardy! host.
(Via Wall Street Journal)