With one day of filming under his belt and a mere nine days as “Jeopardy!” host, Mike Richards outdid even former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci in brevity of
time served in a high-profile role. The only possible consolation for Richards: No less a comedic giant than Jackie Gleason hosted a game show so bad that it lasted just one outing.
Richards had been serving as executive producer of the lucrative syndication mainstay as it underwent the wrenching process of finding a host to replace the late Alex Trebek, who died of
cancer in November 2020 after nearly 37 years as host. Sony Pictures Television concocted a long — and public — search for a successor, lining up a series of guest hosts beginning in January before officially giving the job to Richards. But it didn’t take long for the media and other critics to resurface a lawsuit involving the former stand-up comedian as well as disparaging remarks he had made on a podcast while working behind the scenes on “The Price Is Right,” and Richards soon stepped down as host.
With his rapid ouster from the on-camera role, Richards joins a long list of other short-lived TV hosts, including Alec Baldwin, who lasted six weeks on MSNBC in 2013, Conan O’Brien on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” (seven months from 2009-10), Chevy Chase (who famously slogged through two brutal months in late-night on Fox in 1993) and Rosie O’Donnell in her second time on “The View” (six months in 2014-2015).
Gleason’s single episode of “You’re in the Picture” aired on the evening John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president; the following week the comic apologized for the effort.
Said Gleason at the time: “Last week we did a show that laid the biggest bomb — it would make the H-bomb look like a two-inch salute.”