The Frontrunner for the “Jeopardy!” Hosting Gig Has a Problematic Past

Executive producer Mike Richards was named in several lawsuits during his time at "The Price Is Right"

Mike Richards
Mike Richards accepts the award for Outstanding Game Show for Jeopardy! during the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on June 25, 2021.
via Getty Images

Yesterday we reported that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards is the frontrunner to replace the late Alex Trebek and take over as the game show’s permanent host despite the fact that he was named in a gender discrimination lawsuit by a former Price Is Right model in 2010, but it turns out that’s not the only instance of Richards and his fellow producers being called out. As The Daily Beast reports, Richards was mentioned in several complaints by former models during his time as a producer at The Price Is Right.

Model Brandi Cochran claimed she was discriminated against after she became pregnant, alleging that Richards stopped talking to her after she became pregnant and implied to her that had the show known about her pregnancy earlier, she would have been fired. Cochran also claimed that she’d delayed trying to have a child because she witnessed producers harassing two other models who had become pregnant and firing one other. Her lawsuit also claims that “Richards decided that the models’ skirts should be shorter and said that he liked the models to look as if they were going out on a date. At his suggestion, models wore bikinis on the show more frequently.”

Also in 2010, model Shane Stirling sued CBS, claiming she had been let go from The Price Is Right in 2008 after she became pregnant. (A court ruled that she failed to present sufficient evidence to support her claim.) In 2011, model Lanisha Cole sued Richards, producer Adam Sandler (not the comedian) and production company Fremantle Media North America for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, claiming that Richards stopped speaking to her — about work-related matters or anything else — after he began “a close, personal and intimate” relationship with one of her fellow models. The suit also claims that Sandler burst into her dressing room without knocking while she was “clad only in a sheer thong bikini bottom” and berated her for not wearing a microphone. The lawsuit was settled in 2013, and Richards was eventually dismissed as a defendant.

Richards has not officially been named the new host of Jeopardy! yet, but Variety reports that he’s in “advanced negotiations” to take on the role.

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