Mike Richards stepped down as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” on Tuesday. He resigned. Or was pushed. Either way, he is out.
And we’re left with two questions:
What took so long?
Could Sony, which runs the show, have mucked this up any more than it did?
By now, you know the story. Richards was the executive producer and, originally, in charge of the team finding a replacement for the late Alex Trebek. In a process that smelled fishy from the start, Richards ended up becoming the permanent host of the daily syndicated show. He then stepped down as host after taping a week’s worth of shows following an article by The Ringer’s Claire McNear that revealed a bunch of troubling comments in Richards’ past.
Unbelievably, Sony thought Richards could remain in charge of the show even after he gave up hosting duties. Check out this line in a memo to the show’s crew from Suzanne Prete, executive vice president for business and strategy for “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!”:
“We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.”
Of course that has not happened. How could Sony have ever thought it would? Talk about being clueless. Sony seemed to be, literally, the last and maybe only entity on earth that thought this controversy and stain was going to go away if Richards…