Jeopardy! EP Mike Richards Addresses Lawsuit Allegations in Memo
Last week, reports surfaced that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards was "in advanced negotiations" with Sony Pictures TV to be the long-running game show's permanent host (though a final deal is still not officially in place). Shortly after, Richards' involvement in past lawsuits involving The Price is Right models Brandi Cochran and Lanisha Cole during his time producing the Bob Barker and Drew Carrey-hosted game show came to light on social media before news sites then began to cover the matter (you can look back on our coverage here). Now, Richards is addressing both the hosting rumors and the allegations leveled against him in those past lawsuits via a memo sent to Jeopardy! employees (which Variety obtained). Regarding the allegations, Richards claims his "comments and actions have been characterized" and that the allegations in the complaints don't "reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on 'The Price is Right.'" Richards argued that he "would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy" and that he has always supported others "on their parenting journeys." Here's a look at Richards' full memo/statement:
Recently, Jeopardy!, our host search and the possibility of me hosting has been all over the news. I want to take a moment so that you can hear directly from me. The last year has been the most challenging in the history of the show. I know we are all still dealing with the loss of our hero, Alex, while at the same time continuing to produce amazing shows for our millions of fans through the pandemic. Our success over that time with our guest-host rotation, including the more than $3 million we raised for charities, is a singular achievement and a testament to your talent and dedication. I've produced a lot of television over the years, and I could not be more impressed with team Jeopardy!
It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show. I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing. I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony's top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built. As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.
I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price is Right ten years ago. These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.
I am very proud of my time on The Price Is Right and Let's Make a Deal. During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera. It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.
For us, I realize there is a lot going on right now as we ramp up for the new season. Please do not hesitate to reach out of you have any questions or concerns.
It is truly an honor to get to work with all of you to produce this amazing show, and I look forward to the days ahead as we get back into production.
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