The ousted producer-host kicked off Jeopardy season 38 with a pre-recorded episode filmed before he left the show following controversial remarks about marginalized groups.

Jeopardy launched season 38 on a bittersweet note all around: The long-running game show opened with a sweet tribute to late host Alex Trebek, and segued into a pre-recorded competition round presided over by the now-ousted producer-star Mike Richards.

"Earlier today, with Alex's wife Jean, son Matt, and daughters Emily and Nicky, we dedicated the stage in his honor," the show's announcer, Johnny Gilbert, said Monday at the top of the episode in honor of the late host, who died in November 2020 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. "It will now forever be known as the Alex Trebek Stage."

The episode continued with a pre-recorded game run by Richards, the former executive producer and Trebek's replacement host who left both positions in August following resurfaced scandals tied to past insensitive remarks made on his former podcast and his involvement in discrimination lawsuits filed during his time working on The Price Is Right

"We are in the presence of a champion in the midst of a historic run," Richards said, per PEOPLE, at the top of the episode, shortly after his official introduction as the new host. "Matt Amodio is the third-highestt Jeopardy money winner in regular season play... For the first time from the Alex Trebek Stage, let's play Jeopardy!"

Jeopardy Alex Trebek, Mike Richards
'Jeopardy!' opened season 38 with a tribute to Alex Trebek and a pre-recorded game with Mike Richards.
| Credit: Eric McCandless via Getty Images; Jeopardy Productions

Last week, new Jeopardy contestant Samit Sarkar tweeted that he has "the dubious distinction of being 1 of the 11 contestants in history to have taped with Mike Richards as 'permanent' host," and alleged that the show slightly altered a long-running tradition amid the controversy.

"Jeopardy contestants usually get 2 photos — one with the host + a headshot. We each took a photo with Mike, but were only sent the headshot!" he tweeted last Tuesday. "I'll have more to say later." (Representatives for production company Sony Pictures Television didn't immediately respond to EW's request for confirmation.)

In Richards' absence, actress Mayim Bialik — previously tapped to host Jeopardy's primetime specials and spin-offs — will fill in as temporary host across new episodes. On Friday, she shared a photo of herself preparing to shoot.

Episodes that were taped earlier this year when Richards was still host will air as scheduled, Sony previously confirmed. After The Ringer wrote an exposé detailing Richards' past comments about people with mental disabilities, women, and Jewish people, the 46-year-old apologized in a statement that called the ordeal "humbling" and a "terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago" that there is "no excuse" for.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including our new season diving into all five All Stars seasons, featuring exclusive interviews with Jujubee, Alexis Mateo, Shea Couleé, Alaska, Detox, BenDeLaCreme, Kennedy Davenport, and moreAnd be sure to catch up on our BINGE recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race seasons 1-13 with Symone, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more!

Related content:


America's favorite answer-and-question game.

  • TV Show

Comments have been disabled on this post