'Jeopardy!' Host Frontrunner Mike Richards Says His Comments From 'Price Is Right' Lawsuits 'Does Not Reflect the Reality of Who I Am'

Richards was an executive producer of ”The Price Is Right“ when it faced harassment and discrimination lawsuits in 2010 and 2011

Sony Pictures Television

Mike Richards, the favorite to land the full-time “Jeopardy!” hosting gig, addressed his time on the “Price is Right” a decade ago, when he was involved in two harassment lawsuits related to his old job on the CBS game show. He also confirmed the reports that he is a contender to replace the late Alex Trebek.

“I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at ‘The Price is Right’ ten years ago. These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on ‘The Price is Right.’ I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys,” Richard said in a memo to staff.

“I am very proud of my time on ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children.  We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera.  It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.

Richards joined Sony Pictures Television in 2019 and has executive produced “Jeopardy!” since 2020. But before that, he was for a decade an executive producer on CBS’s “The Price is Right.” In 2010, former “The Price Is Right” model Brandi Cochran sued show producers FremantleMedia and The Price Is Right Productions for harassment. She asserted that she was harassed following the 2008 on-air announcement of her pregnancy, and found out she was fired as her maternity leave came to an end.

Her lawsuit claimed that show producers “discriminated against, harassed, and retaliated against Cochran, including making remarks about her pregnancy, her appearance, her weight, and her eating habits.” Richards was named in the lawsuit. Cochran won $7,769,440 in punitive damages in 2012.

But that wasn’t the only one. In 2011, another “The Price Is Right” model, Lanisha Cole, also sued the show for sexual harassment, alleging in part that Richards and another producer spoke abusively to her on set. Richards was however dismissed as a defendant in that lawsuit in April 2013 and the suit was settled a month later.

Last week, it was reported that Richards was deep into negotiations to get the coveted gig, beating out assumed frontrunner Ken Jennings and fan-favorite LeVar Burton. “It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show,” Richards said on Monday. “No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing.”

Here is the full memo from Richards:

Team Jeopardy!

Recently, Jeopardy!, our host search and the possibility of me hosting has been all over the news. I want to take a moment so that you can hear directly from me. The last year has been the most challenging in the history of the show. I know we are all still dealing with the loss of our hero, Alex, while at the same time continuing to produce amazing shows for our millions of fans through the pandemic.  Our success over that time with our guest-host rotation, including the more than $3 million we raised for charities, is a singular achievement and a testament to your talent and dedication.  I’ve produced a lot of television over the years, and I could not be more impressed with team Jeopardy! 

It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show.  I was humbled and deeply honored.  No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing.  I know I have mentioned this to you all before, but the choice on this is not my decision and never has been. Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built.  As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.

I want to address the complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at The Price is Right ten years ago. These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.  

I am very proud of my time on The Price Is Right and Let’s Make a Deal.  During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children.  We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera.  It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.

For us, I realize there is a lot going on right now as we ramp up for the new season.  Please do not hesitate to reach out of you have any questions or concerns.

It is truly an honor to get to work with all of you to produce this amazing show, and I look forward to the days ahead as we get back into production.

Mike

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