LOS ANGELES -- Mike Richards is out as the executive producer of "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune."
Sony executive Suzanne Prete announced Richards' exit in a note to staffers Tuesday, writing, "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."
Michael Davies will be stepping into the role on an interim basis, Prete said, adding that she, too, would be "more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward."
Richards had signed an overall development deal with Sony in 2019, and became executive producer of "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" in May 2020.
He quickly became controversial when he went from behind-the-scenes to Sony's pick to host the syndicated version of "Jeopardy!'' - even before his 2013-14 podcast comments demeaning women and making stereotypical comments about Asian, Jews and others surfaced.
Anointing Richards as successor to the admired Alex Trebek was a questionable choice to some, especially after the studio had conducted a splashy search that included actors, sports figures, journalists - and Richards.
Questions were raised about whether Richards had put his finger on the scale in favor of himself, and whether he had the gravitas that was seen in other candidates, such as fan favorite LeVar Burton.
Actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik is among the guest hosts who will appear in the new season of "Jeopardy!" in syndication this September. She had previously joined the franchise for an ongoing role as emcee for "Jeopardy!" prime-time and spinoff series, including a new college championship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.