Mike Richards Steps Down as 'Jeopardy!' Host Following Backlash

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Mike Richards is stepping down as Jeopardy! host after receiving backlash for sexist comments he made in the past, as well as taking on the hosting gig given he was already executive producer of the show.

Richards, who was announced as the new permanent host earlier this month, made the announcement in an internal note to staff on Friday. He also revealed that production will be canceled for the day.

"Dear Team, it pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter.  As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role," his message read. "However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today."

"SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host. In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week," he continued. "I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence."

A spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television also released the following statement to ET:

"We support Mike’s decision to step down as host. We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward.

Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced [following Alex Trebek's death]. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect."

The news comes one day after Richards issued a statement saying he was "deeply sorry" for past controversial comments he made that were resurfaced by The Ringer. The outlet reported on his past controversies, including the podcast he started in 2013 called The Randumb Show. During the podcast, Richards made multiple questionable comments about women's bodies.

"It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago," Richards' statement read. "Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry."

"The podcast was intended to be a series of irreverent conversations between longtime friends who had a history of joking around," the statement continued. "Even with the passage of time, it’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable, and I have removed the episodes. My responsibilities today as a father, husband, and a public personality who speaks to many people through my role on television means I have substantial and serious obligations as a role model, and I intend to live up to them.”

Hear more in the video below.

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