Sony executives fire Mike Richards as producer of ‘Jeopardy!’

Fallout continues after he was announced as replacement for longtime host Alex Trebek

Sony has fired Mike Richards as the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” weeks after he was chosen to succeed longtime host Alex Trebek and then stepped aside when scrutiny arose about his past comments on women, Jews and poor people.

“Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel and Jeopardy! effective immediately,” Sony Pictures Television executive Suzanne Prete said Tuesday in a statement to the production staff of both shows, according to several news reports. “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.”

ExploreAUG. 5: Mike Richards emerges as favorite to become permanent host of ‘Jeopardy!’

Richards, 45, was one of several personalities who guest-hosted “Jeopardy!” after Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in November. The group included CNN host Anderson Cooper, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and actor LeVar Burton — who emerged from the pack as a fan favorite and seemed like a shoo-in to get the job.

Instead, Richards’ name emerged in early August as the front-runner to replace Trebek after reportedly running the search himself, which infuriated many fans of the show.

News that actress Mayim Bialik would co-host the revamped “Jeopardy!” show with Richards was soon overshadowed by reports that Richards had made disparaging and misogynistic statements eight years earlier on a podcast series called “The Randumb Show.”

ExploreLAST WEEK: Mayim Bialik to be first ‘Jeopardy!’ guest co-host

Several discrimination lawsuits filed by “Price Is Right” models against Richards 10 years ago also came back to haunt the producer.

Richards apologized in a statement, saying: “It’s more than clear that my attempts to be funny and provocative were not acceptable.”

Then less than two weeks ago, as the controversy continued to flare, Richards stepped down as host while the front office at Sony continued to support his role as executive producer of the show.

That all changed Tuesday, however, when Richards’ bosses ultimately decided it was time for him to go.

Bialik, meanwhile, will tape three weeks of episodes as guest host while the search for a permanent “Jeopardy!” host gets underway again with a new lineup of guest hosts, according to NBC News.

Michael Davies of the production company Embassy Row has “agreed to help with production on an interim basis until further notice,” Prete said in the statement.

“Michael and I will work together with all of you in the weeks ahead to ensure that production remains on schedule and we do not miss a beat as we head into the new season,” she said, according to NBC.

Richards has produced numerous other game shows, including “The Weakest Link,” “Let’s Make A Deal” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” but he was still obscure to many fans before he guest-hosted the show in February.

This is a developing story. Please stay with AJC.com for the latest updates.