Jeopardy! executive producer and potential new host Mike Richards is coming under fire for past allegations of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. In 2010, Richards was involved in a lawsuit filed by a former model of The Price is Right, who claimed he fired her after becoming pregnant. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Richards, the executive producer at TPIR from 2009-2018, had a more active role with show's models and wanted to have them interact more with host Drew Carey and the contestants. He also wanted them mic'd up to speak with audience members.
Former model Brandi Cochran slapped CBS and Fremantle with the lawsuit, and Richards' alleged views on female co-workers came into play. The evidence presented was a holiday party in 2008 where Richards griped about Cochran's pregnancy and how it affects staffing. Richards allegedly said,
Go figure, I fire five models what are the odds one of the ones that I keep gets pregnant?
Cochran claims in the suit she kept quiet about her pregnancy at first because she didn't want to get fired, but later decided to tell others she was having twins. Cochran later testified when she finally told Richards about her pregnancy, he put his head in his hands, and the next day, Richards allegedly stormed up to her and remarked:
Twins? Are you kidding? Are you serious?
Cochran later miscarried one of the twins and claimed it was because of her stress during that time. Richards maintained he didn't rehire Cochran because of TPIR's changing format with the use of fewer models and stated Cochran was a "good model" she, however, "would not take us to great."
Cochran was awarded by the jury $8.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages, but a judge struck it down for bad jury instructions. FremantleMedia appealed, but unfortunately for them, the court ruled there was enough evidence for a second trial. The case was later settled.