Rumors have been swirling over the past few weeks that “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards is in final talks to take over as the show’s permanent host. Now, he has broken his silence to address these rumors.

“It is true that I was asked if I would consider hosting the show,” Richards said in an email to staffers that was obtained by Entertainment Tonight. “I was humbled and deeply honored. No final decisions have been made and discussions with me and other potential hosts are still ongoing.”

He went on to say that choosing a permanent host “is not my decision and never has been,” adding that whoever is chosen to host will make the late great Alex Trebek proud.

“Throughout this search, Sony’s top priority has always been to continue the incredible legacy you and Alex built,” he told staffers. “As you know, Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show, and that will continue to be the guiding principle as the decision is finalized.”

Richards then talked about the “complicated employment issues raised in the press during my time at ‘The Price is Right’ 10 years ago.” While serving as executive producer of that game show, he was accused of pregnancy discrimination in two complaints filed by former ‘Price Is Right’ models.

“I want you all to know that 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. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent,” Richards said of the complaints, which saw him be accused of making insensitive comments about models on the show who became pregnant.

“It is the most important thing in the world to me,” he said. “I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”

“I am very proud of my time on ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal,'” Richards continued.  “During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera.  It was a joy to watch their families grow and highlight their happiness as part of the show.”

Trebek passed away back in November at the age of 80 after hosting “Jeopardy!” for 37 years.

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