Not even a week after Mike Richards was rumored to be replacing the late Alex Trebek as the permanent host of Jeopardy!, he's been forced to address a controversy swirling around him. Richards, who was once a producer on The Price Is Right, was named in two discrimination lawsuits against the game show, with two models on the show alleging he treated them poorly. In a memo to Jeopardy! staffers obtained by NBC News, Richards said, "The way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right." One model, who did not list Richards specifically as a defendant in her suit, claimed he treated her differently after she got pregnant. In his note, Richards said he "would not say anything to disrespect anyone's pregnancy," as he sees being a parent as the "most important thing in the world."
That suit was ultimately settled after a court battle. The other model said Richard treated her differently than others on the show, but he was dropped as a defendant before that suit was settled in 2013. In other news, Richards also confirmed in the memo that he has been asked to consider hosting the show, but that no final decisions have been made, CNN reports. He pushed back on criticism that, as an executive producer, he essentially picked himself, saying the choice of Trebek's replacement is not his to make. Meanwhile at the Week, Jeva Lange offers up yet another reason Richards is a meh option: "Replacing a longtime middle-aged white guy with another middle-aged white guy isn't exactly a bold choice." Jeopardy! is in its final week of new episodes for this season, with Joe Buck of Fox Sports guest-hosting, and production on the next season is set to begin soon as it premieres in September. (Read more Jeopardy stories.)