‘Jeopardy!’ Champ James Holzhauer Celebrates Mike Richards’ Firing: ‘Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead!’

Richards was ousted Tuesday from his executive producer role

James Holzhauer
Sony Pictures Television/Getty Images

Mike Richards is out at “Jeopardy!” (for real this time) and James Holzhauer is so happy he could sing, apparently. 

Amid the news that Richards would no longer be serving as the show’s executive producer, the prolific “Jeopardy!” contestant posted two tweets on Tuesday that could each serve as valid answers for, “What is shade?” 

First he tweeted, “Do I think Mike Richards’s podcast comments were appropriate for polite society? No. But did he deserve the benefit of the doubt for the job he did running Jeopardy? Also no.” 

He followed that tweet up with a GIF of the munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz” singing, “Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!” after a tornado had swept Dorothy’s home all the way to Oz and dropped it on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. 

There was no tornado necessary in Richards’ undoing, but there was quite a firestorm. 

Sony Pictures Television announced that Richards would no longer executive produce “Jeopardy!” nor “Wheel of Fortune” in a statement Tuesday – less than two weeks after he lost the coveted hosting gig over resurfaced podcast clips in which he repeatedly made disparaging remarks against women. 

“I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of Wheel and Jeopardy! effective immediately.  We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at Jeopardy! it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened,” said Suzanne Prete, EVP, Business and Strategy, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!”

Prete continued: “Michael Davies from Embassy Row has agreed to help with production on an interim basis until further notice. Michael and I will work together with all of you in the weeks ahead to ensure that production remains on schedule and we do not miss a beat as we head into the new season.

“I know this has been a challenging time for the entire team, and I want to thank you all for your cooperation and professionalism over these last few weeks. As Ravi mentioned last week, I will be more involved in the day-to-day on our shows moving forward and I am looking forward to working closely with all of you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.”

The announcement comes amid some backlash over the fact that Richards would still be heavily involved behind-the-scenes despite his highly publicized withdrawal from center stage.

In 2019, Holzhauer won 32 consecutive games and garnered more than $2.4 million in winnings, making him one of the most successful contestants in the quiz show’s nearly 40-year history. 

“Jeopardy James” has not exactly been discreet in his disdain for Richards, who was first publicly considered for the role of permanent host about a month ago.  

Here he is shading Richards at virtually every phase of his brief “Jeopardy!” hosting journey.


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