After the long-time host of the popular game show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek passed away last year, there has been much speculation about who can replace his iconic presence. While fans have been in favor of many guests who have hosted various episodes of the show over the years, with LeVar Burton being the top choice, it was recently reported that Sony is instead choosing Jeopardy! executive producer, Mike Richards, as the permanent host. But the news of his selection as the show host has dredged up some of his highly criticized actions in the past and now, he is on the receiving end of the current era’s rampant cancel culture.
A few days ago, Variety had reported that Mike Richards is almost done with the negotiations to take over as the permanent host of Jeopardy!. This was after Alex Trebek, who helmed the show for over 35 years and more than 8,200 episodes, passed away in 2020 at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer. But the news was soon accompanied by many rehashing the multiple lawsuits Richards has faced during his time as the executive producer of The Price Is Right.
Of the lawsuits beings cited, one was filed in 2010 by former The Price is Right model Brandi Cochran who specifically accused the upcoming Jeopardy! host of wrongfully firing her because she had become pregnant. As reported by Variety, the court filings by Cochran mention that Richards was very insensitive towards her concerning the pregnancy and the fact that she was about to have twins. Another lawsuit that is being mentioned is the one filed by Price model, Lanisha Cole, who claimed that she had been subjected to harassment and terminated for no valid. In this case, Richards’ involvement was dismissed in 2013. This is all more controversial considering how beloved Alex Trebek was over the years.
Even though Mike Richards has been one of the many guests on Jeopardy! who have hosted the show after Alex Trebek’s death, it was only after the news of him being established as the show’s permanent host got out that posts highlighting his past debacles cropped up. As of now, people have been giving mixed responses with many outrightly disapproving of Richards’ past actions while others have been criticizing social media’s cancel culture.
Of all the celebrities Jeopardy! fans believe should helm the game show, LeVar Burton has been the topmost choice. In fact, a petition had also been started to ensure that the television host-actor take Alex Trebek’s place. Addressed to Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. as well as the show’s producers Richards and Harry Friedman, the petition explains how LeVar Burton has inspired and “shaped the minds” of many generations by hosting Reading Rainbow for 21 seasons and playing iconic characters like Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Kunta Kinte in Roots. Currently, the petition holds over 265,000 signatures with people commenting how Burton has been a “beacon of wisdom, literacy, and humanity.”
With the mixed reaction to the recent development of Richards being considered as Alex Trebek’s replacement for Jeopardy!, it is highly probable that the petition will soon cross its desired goal of 300,000. But it remains to be seen if the petition will prove instrumental in changing Sony’s mind as reportedly they are already very impressed with Richards and see him as a “game show guy.”