Can ousted 'Jeopardy' host, Mike Richards, recover his reputation after public backlash? Expert weighs in

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Mike Richards resigned as host of “Jeopardy!” just nine days after it was announced he would succeed the late Alex Trebek as its permanent host. 

Richards stepped down Friday after past inappropriate comments he made on the “The Randumb Show” podcast resurfaced. The 46-year-old, who hosted the podcast from 2013 to 2014 while he was working at “The Price is Right,” made derogatory comments about women, people with mental disabilities, little people and the poor. 

Although some “Jeopardy!” episodes he has already helmed will air as scheduled, questions still remain as to what the future could hold for the longtime show producer.

Evan Nierman, the author of “Crisis Averted” and CEO of international crisis PR firm Red Banyan, told Fox News he believes the public way in which Richards was ousted from his new post doesn’t bode well for his prospects as an on-air personality but shouldn’t hinder his efforts as a producer behind the curtains.

“Being fired from ‘Jeopardy!’ in such public fashion is certainly going to harm Mike’s prospects of being an on-air figure,” said Nierman. “He should be able to resume his prior work as a producer and stay active in the industry.”

The reputation expert maintained that timing could be the great multiplier for Richards, considering the warp-speed pace with which the daily news cycle moves. Nierman said Richards should look to jump on news programs and champion against the practice of engaging in cancel culture.

Mike Richards apologized for past comments he made on a podcast he hosted between 2013 and 2014.
(JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Nierman anticipates that “serious damage to [Richards’] image will likely last a very long time” and pressed that the “best prospect for an immediate return to TV would be appearing on news programs to decry cancel culture and the rush to judgment against him.”

Meanwhile, a Sony spokesperson told Fox News in a statement on Friday that Richards will remain the show’s executive producer.

“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,” the memorandum reads. “It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”

Even with the vote of confidence from the studio, Nierman believes cancel culture in society is still in its infancy and shows no sign of loosening its grip on the masses.

“This affair illustrates that cancel culture is currently operating at full force in this country,” he said of the manner in which Richards experienced the best and worst days of his career in such rapid succession. 

‘Jeopardy!’ executive producer, Mike Richards, left, was tapped to succeed the late Alex Trebek as the show’s permanent host. However, he resigned just nine days after accepting the gig after past comments he made about women during a podcast resurfaced online.
(Getty Images)

“What’s most compelling is the remarkable speed with which ‘Jeopardy!’s short-lived host was jettisoned to appease an outraged mob,” Nierman said. “Expect it to continue for some time since cancel culture shows no sign of abating anytime soon.”

Nierman also cautioned those who have found themselves longing for the spoils of fame to be absolutely sure they’re willing to accept the inherent risks that come with notoriety.

“Every person alive today has at some point said or done something that another person finds objectionable, whether they mean to or not,” he said. “People are being forced to think twice before stepping into the public realm because there will always be a group of people intent on picking through your past with a fine-tooth comb to uncover reasons to attack you.”

“In today’s climate, reputations and resumes built over decades can be torn to shreds in mere moments with people paying steep prices for things they may have said or done many years in the past,” he added.

Mike Richards accepts the award for outstanding game show for The Price is Right at the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards at Westin Bonaventure Hotel on May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage via Getty Images)

“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,” he shared. “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.”

He went on to apologize to the “Jeopardy!” staff.

“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,” Richards concluded. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”

Richards also previously came under fire for an incident that occurred more than a decade ago while he was at “The Price Is Right.” Richards was the subject of a 2010 complaint by Brandi Cochran, a former model on the show, who claimed she was fired after becoming pregnant with twins while he served as co-executive producer. Cochran received more than $8.5 million in punitive damages.

Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco and Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report

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