After Variety broke the news last week that Richards was in advanced talks to become the show’s next permanent host, conversation almost equally quickly surfaced on social media that Richards had been involved in lawsuits accusing him of discriminating against former The Price Is Right models when they became pregnant while Richards was executive producing that show. Those lawsuits have since been dismissed or settled.
On Monday morning, Richards addressed these reports with his staff at Sony Pictures Television, which produces Jeopardy!.
He confirmed that he has been asked to consider becoming the show’s permanent host about which he “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.”
As for the lawsuits, Richards wrote: “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.”
In the meantime, Richards and Jeopardy! are gearing up for the show’s 38th season and Richards encouraged the show’s staff to keep their focus on that. Richards told B&C in May that the show would name a permanent host before the new season premieres on Sept. 13.
“Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built,” Richards wrote. “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.”
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.