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‘Jeopardy!’ fans question rumored host front-runner after past discrimination lawsuits surface

“Jeopardy!” fans are upset over reports that the show’s executive producer, Mike Richards, is the apparent front-runner to replace beloved host Alex Trebek after past harassment and discrimination lawsuits against Richards resurfaced.

The long-running television game show has not announced a new permanent host, but Variety reported that Richards was in advanced negotiations for the coveted gig. “Jeopardy!” has been on the hunt for a new host after Trebek’s death in November from pancreatic cancer.

The show declined to comment this week on the news that Richards is reportedly in negotiations.

Richards joined the show last year as executive producer and filled in as guest host from late February to early March. Variety reported that Sony Pictures Television, which produces “Jeopardy!”, was impressed with Richards’ on-air manner and command of the game.

But some viewers weren’t thrilled and vented their frustrations on social media. Many fans were upset that actor LeVar Burton wasn’t the choice and others pointed out that Richards had been involved in two discrimination lawsuits.

“Another lawsuit against Mike Richards. Did you just not care? No one will watch @Jeopardy with such a toxic person as host and executive producer,” one Twitter user wrote.

“@Jeopardy is so set to tank Alex Trebek’s legacy,” another Twitter user posted, adding: “they are going with a bland and pedestrian host with a disturbing past. Do better #Jeopardy!”

Richards has not publicly addressed the lawsuits. NBC News has reached out to Sony Pictures Television for comment. “Jeopardy” declined to comment on the allegations made against Richards in the lawsuits. Richards was not available to comment.

One of the suits was filed by Brandi Cochran, a former model for “The Price Is Right,” who said she was fired after she became pregnant. The suit, filed in March 2010, listed the defendants as the CBS Corp., CBS Television Network, Fremantle Media, and “The Price Is Right.”

Richards, who was a producer for “The Price Is Right,” was not listed as a defendant but was accused in the suit of treating Cochran differently after she announced she was pregnant in late 2008.

“After learning of Cochran’s pregnancy, defendants’ executive producer Mike Richards did not talk to her as frequently as before,” the suit stated. “Unlike other co-workers, he did not congratulate her on being pregnant.”

It also accused Richards of telling another model that she would get more work because of Cochran’s pregnancy. According to the suit, the model later allegedly told Cochran that Richards had said to her: “Go figure! I fire five girls … What are the odds?”

Cochran, the lawsuit said, took Richards’ comment to mean that he would have fired her if he had known she was pregnant.

The suit went on to allege that Cochran was pressured to reveal her pregnancy on-air because co-workers told her she was beginning to show. It said that it was announced that she was expecting twins, Richards “asked her twice, in an annoyed tone, ‘Twins? Are you serious? … You’re serious?’”

Cochran was booked less after that exchange with Richards, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also said that other producers made comments about Cochran’s weight, her appearance and her eating habits. According to the complaint, Cochran had a difficult pregnancy and lost one of her twins due to an in-utero heart defect.

After her maternity leave ended, Cochran tried to return to “The Price Is Right” but was not booked for work, the lawsuit stated. She eventually learned that she had been terminated, according to the lawsuit.

The case went to trial and a jury awarded Cochran more than $8 million. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge later overturned it and Cochran and the defendants settled outside of court, documents show.

In 2011, another “Price Is Right” model filed a lawsuit. Richards, along with Fremantle Media and producer Adam Sandler, were named as defendants. (The Sandler named in the suit is not the actor Adam Sandler.)

According to The Los Angeles Times, model Lanisha Cole accused Richards in the lawsuit of treating her differently than the other models.

“Specifically, without limitation, Defendant Richards refused to speak with Plaintiff about anything, work-related or not, under any circumstance,” according to a copy of the lawsuit posted by the Times.

The suit said that Richards would write notes and give them to other models and staff to pass to Cole.

“Plaintiff is informed and believes that none of the TPIR models were ignored by Defendant Richards or given notes in this manner,” it stated, further alleging that “this dramatically changed the atmosphere in the workplace for Plaintiff.”

The suit claimed that around the time Richards stopped speaking to Cole he had begun an intimate relationship with another model.

Cole also alleged that Sandler burst into her dressing room and berated her in front of her peers for not wearing a microphone. According to the lawsuit, Cole eventually quit the show because she didn’t think her concerns were ever properly investigated.

Richards was later dropped as a defendant and the suit was settled in 2013, according to The Daily Beast.

NBC News has reached out to CBS Corporation, Fremantle Media, “The Price Is Right” and Sandler for comments on the allegations raised in the lawsuits.

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races

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Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

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Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year

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Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races

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It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better

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The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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