Mike Jennings, current frontrunner to replace the late Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy! is facing backlash as previous allegations of discrimination and harassment have resurfaced from his time as producer on The Price Is Right. This comes from a lawsuit filed in 2010 by model Shane Stirling claiming that she had let go from the show in 2008 as a result of her pregnancy. In that same year, fellow model Brandi Cochran also brought forth a similar complaint.
While Shane Stirling was unable to provide sufficient evidence for her claims in court, Brandi Cochran was able to get awarded Cochran $8.5 million by a jury before a higher court overturned the results. The lawsuit claimed that as executive producer, 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.”
It also alleged that Richards reacted poorly to the news that Cochran was having twins and that she faced harassment for her weight gain and eating habits on the show while also being booked for less work. While the case didn’t bear fruit in court, Cochran and Richards eventually settled outside of court.
This wasn’t the only lawsuit Richards faced about his alleged behavior on the show. Lanisha Cole sued Richards in 2011 with allegations ranging from being outright ignored in any communication on the show by Richards to the fact that he had a close personal relationship with another model. However, the lawsuit was eventually settled in 2013 with Richards being dismissed as a defendant.
Many fans were shocked when it was announced that Mike Jennings was the frontrunner for the new host of Jeopardy. Despite his previous experience hosting shows like Pyramid and Divided, he wasn’t as relevant of a name. With the fan petitions for Levar Burton to host starting as far back as December of 2020 and Ken Jennings (the record holder for the longest win streak on Jeopardy!) having higher Nielson Ratings during his hosting run, Richards seemed like an odd pick.
With these currently resurfaced allegations, fans await to see if Richards, the current executive producer for the show, remains the frontrunner as host or if he will now be replaced by a less controversial candidate.