(NEXSTAR) – Mike Richards has stepped down as the new host of ‘Jeopardy!’ just nine days after he was chosen to succeed Alex Trebek.
Producer Sony Pictures Television announced the embattled host was stepping down from the role and released a statement from Richards on Friday:
Sony Pictures Television also said Richards would remain as the show’s executive producer, according to Variety.
“Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the ‘Jeopardy!’ team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect,” Sony said.
Richards’ resume includes hosting “The Pyramid” and “Beauty and the Geek,” as well as serving as executive producer of “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal.”
His selection was seen as divisive from the beginning after the show embarked on a broad search that included actors, sports figures, journalists and celebrities.
In announcing Richards was the new host, Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures had said, “We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for the show — deservedly so because it’s ‘Jeopardy!’ and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek.”
Trebek hosted “Jeopardy!” for more than 36 years before his death in November at age 80 following a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sony Pictures Television had also announced that actress Mayim Bialik will host primetime and spin-off specials of the show, including the upcoming “Jeopardy! National College Championship.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.