Willy Sanjuan / Invision / AP
NEW YORK – The very brief era of Mike Richards on “Jeopardy!” began on Monday as the beleaguered game show dealt with the embarrassment of opening its 38th season with a host his fans already know he’s toast.
Richards resigned as Alex Trebek’s replacement on August 20 and was ousted as executive producer of the show a week and a half later, after discovering that the podcasts he created in 2013 and 2014 contained humiliating remarks about women and minorities.
Her selection as host by Sony Pictures Television after a long series of tries by other personalities was already unpopular with fans before the old podcasts surfaced.
His ouster came after completing a week of recording shows for the new season, and Sony couldn’t remake them without affecting the integrity of the game.
Richards was introduced as the host on Monday by dejected-looking announcer Johnny Gilbert. Not a word was mentioned about his status as Trebek’s replacement; if it had originally been, it was cut out.
Before it was presented, it was noted that Trebek’s widow and children had been on hand for the dedication of the scene to his former host, who died of cancer last October.
“For the first time on the Alex Trebek stage, let’s play ‘Jeopardy!’” Said Richards.
In keeping with Trebek tradition – he considered the game and its players to be the star – Richards generally took precedence over the action.
The show is in the middle of a historic run by Matt Amodio, a doctoral student from New Haven, Connecticut. He won his 19th consecutive game on Monday, bringing his total winnings to $ 642,601, behind only Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.
Amodio quickly did the work of contestants Amde Mengistu of Brooklyn, NY, and Gabbie Kim, of Pittsburgh, Pa., Taking home $ 67,800 on Monday.
“Danger!” Next week, actress Mayim Bialik will return as a guest host before starting another round of trials for Trebek’s permanent replacement.
The Richards era will end after five shows. Trebek, which started in 1984, had more than 8,200.