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Jeopardy! returns with Mike Richards-hosted episodes filmed before his ouster

What is … awkward?

Jeopardy! returned Monday for its new season with a premiere episode hosted by Mike Richards, the quiz show’s former executive producer who was ousted as its new host after just one day of taping. Richards filmed a week’s worth of episodes during his brief stint as host, which will air through Friday despite his high-profile exit. 

Monday’s episode featured announcer Johnny Gilbert introducing Richards as the host of Jeopardy!, though there wasn’t any acknowledgement during the show that he no longer holds that job. It wasn’t confirmed how Jeopardy! might have edited the episode following Richards’ ouster, though his opening appeared to feature at least one abrupt cut. There had been speculation that Richards could have originally given remarks directly addressing his permanent hiring, which producers would presumably want to remove. 

Richards was tapped as the new permanent host of Jeopardy! in August, a decision that quickly proved controversial as fans questioned his influence as executive producer over the host search, and he also drew scrutiny over his involvement in past discrimination lawsuits at The Price is Right. After a report from The Ringer revealed Richards made a series of offensive comments on old podcast episodes, he stepped down as host on Aug. 20. The five episodes airing this week were filmed the day before his resignation. He was later fired as the show’s executive producer. Leading up to Monday’s premiere, Jeopardy! promoted its new season on social media with videos that revolved around returning champion Matt Amodio, who is on a historic winning streak, mostly without acknowledging who would host. 

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Once Richards’ five episodes have finished airing, Jeopardy! is set to be guest hosted by The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik for three weeks. Bialik has already been hired to host Jeopardy!‘s primetime and spinoff series, and there has been speculation she could be in the mix to get the full-time gig.