Discovering a everlasting host for Jeopardy! is showing to be a near-impossible feat, because the practically two-year-long search has included a wide range of backlashes and controversies, however the place did all of it go incorrect? Starting because the Jeopardy! host in 1984, Alex Trebek helmed the sport present with humor and compassion for 37 seasons till passing away from pancreatic most cancers in November 2020. Whereas followers of Jeopardy! mourned for the beloved tv character, one other thought crept into the tradition’s thoughts: Who would substitute him because the host?
The sport present has been on the hunt for Trebek’s successor since late 2020, and certain lengthy earlier than that when he first introduced his analysis and imminent plans to retire. After bringing on names like Ken Jennings, NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric, Miyam Bialik, LeVar Burton, David Faber, Anderson Cooper, and Robin Roberts, Jeopardy! executives had been in a position to check out fairly just a few candidates whereas getting suggestions about what audiences did and didn’t take pleasure in in regards to the visitor hosts’ performances. Alas, after the hiring, firing, and removing of some candidates from the operating, Jeopardy! continues to be with out a everlasting host.
Alongside the way in which, Jeopardy!’s possible full-time hosts grew to become topic to controversy after deep-digging investigations into their pasts by followers. It’s laborious to imagine that selecting Trebek’s substitute has develop into so difficult, however Jeopardy! is among the hottest sport exhibits of all time that many followers imagine deserves the proper host. Right here’s a breakdown of the key controversies and backlashes which have occurred over Jeopardy!’s host search, and why it’s sadly gone so incorrect.
The Hiring and Firing of Mike Richards
Probably the most important Jeopardy! controversy thus far was the problematic hiring of govt producer Mike Richards as the brand new everlasting host on August 11, 2021. Out of the entire candidates who served in visitor internet hosting roles since Trebek’s passing, Mike Richards was the wrong choice – but, he acquired the gig. The hypocrisy of his hiring started when it was revealed that not solely was he the manager producer of Jeopardy!, he was on the hiring committee, so he primarily picked himself. Data on Richards’ previous shortly surfaced, as a journalist from The Ringer uncovered previous problematic statements on podcasts which have since been deleted. It additionally got here to mild that Richards was the topic of two discrimination lawsuits throughout his time as govt producer on The Worth is Proper.
After intense backlash and advocacy for Mike Richards to be eliminated because the host, every week later Jeopardy! did simply that. On August 20, it was introduced that Richards would be stepping down as the permanent host, going again to being the manager producer. Clearly, that wasn’t sufficient – this isn’t the man that ought to be having artistic management over the beloved sport present when he was already rightly ousted because the host. On August 31, Sony launched a press release that that they had fired Richards from his positions as govt producer on each Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Jeopardy! followers and former contestants alike had a celebratory subject day with the information, together with former champion James Holzhauer posting a cheeky GIF on Twitter from The Wizard of Oz the place the Munchkins chant “Ding! Dong! The witch is lifeless.”
Ken Jennings’ Problematic Tweets
An early contender to take over for Alex Trebek, many followers lobbied for former contestant Ken Jennings to win the position. Because the contestant with the longest successful streak in Jeopardy! historical past and the highest-earning American sport present entrant of all time, Jennings is aware of the ropes and rules of Jeopardy! greater than another winner. He’s additionally taken on a backstage position for Jeopardy! within the time since his contestant appearances, the place he serves as a consulting producer for the present. Following Trebek’s tragic passing in November 2020, many believed the torch can be handed to Jennings, who additionally served as the primary interim visitor host for Jeopardy! within the 2021 season. All the pieces gave the impression to be going nicely for Jeopardy!‘s beloved golden boy because the visitor host who acquired the best viewership scores. It additionally seems that Trebek himself believed Jennings would take over, with The Ringer reporting that just a few days earlier than he died, Trebek referred to as him about his guest-hosting stint and left Jennings a pair of cuff hyperlinks.
Based on The Wall Street Journal, Jeopardy! producers truly believed early on that Jennings would have been the right successor for Trebek. Even after a lot help from followers, what finally lost Ken Jennings the permanent hosting job was the resurfacing of previous problematic posts on Twitter. One such tweet was a juvenile joke that made widespread rounds on Twitter in 2014, stating, “nothing sadder than a sizzling individual in a wheelchair.” Jennings has since apologized for the insensitive tweet, although it wasn’t sufficient to redeem him within the eyes of Jeopardy! many followers. The identical Wall Avenue Journal piece acknowledged that amid the Twitter controversy in late 2020, Sony paused their announcement on who would substitute Trebek, primarily declaring it wouldn’t be Jennings. Moreover, the article particulars that focus teams for Sony “didn’t react nicely” to a Jennings appointment following the controversy, although he did nonetheless host the primary six weeks again of Jeopardy! He’ll nonetheless be serving as a producer for Jeopardy!, so this gained’t be the final time Jennings is seen on the sport present.
Mayim Bialik Can’t Commit To Everlasting Internet hosting
A self-pronounced passionate Jeopardy! fan, The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik has been a entrance runner for the full-time internet hosting gig. Bialik was one of many extra anticipated interim visitor hosts again in June 2021. As an award-winning actress with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, many believed she had a chilled presentational candor, well-timed humor, and mental background that had been becoming for the host of a sport present that celebrates data and trivia. On the identical time, Bialik carries her personal controversial baggage with previous statements on vaccinations and Weinstein victims, which is a high quality Jeopardy! must keep away from for its full-time host after the Mike Richards fiasco.
When Mike Richards was introduced because the everlasting Jeopardy! host, it got here with the stipulation that Bialik can be a co-host, main this system’s primetime specials and spinoff video games. As soon as Richards subsequently stepped down, some lobbied for Bialik to take over the full-time position since she would already be filling in for the meantime. Because of Bialik’s sitcom Call Me Kat being renewed for a second season, she is not in a position to take over as Jeopardy!’s host anyway as a result of she will be able to’t decide to full-time filming.
Ongoing Fan Marketing campaign For LeVar Burton
Greater than another candidate, the web has broadly lobbied for former Studying Rainbow host and Star Trek: TNG actor LeVar Burton to obtain the everlasting internet hosting position. He as soon as referred to as Jeopardy! his “dream job” on Twitter and holds a pricey place within the hearts of many as an all-around good man who has been current in fashionable tradition for the reason that Nineteen Seventies. As soon as it was introduced that Jeopardy! can be that includes a sequence of interim visitor hosts earlier than selecting a everlasting successor, followers advocated for Burton to get a visitor gig by making a petition that acquired over 200,000 signatures. The marketing campaign labored, with Burton being introduced on in late July 2021.
Many had been ecstatic with Burton’s Jeopardy! efficiency and nonetheless imagine he’s the proper candidate for the job, with celebrities like Ryan Reynolds taking to Twitter to support Burton. On the identical time, some Jeopardy! viewers weren’t as impressed, citing his low episode scores as a counterpoint. With Burton now seemingly now not within the job after being handed over for Richards beforehand, all of the fan help could also be moot both method. That may disappoint some, however contemplating all of the scandal surrounding Jeopardy! proper now, it is sensible why Burton may be cautious.
Jeopardy! Broadcasts Momentary Hosts Via 2021
Whereas Jeopardy! producers nonetheless appear to have no actual thought who will finally develop into the brand new everlasting host of the basic sport present, they’ve not less than confirmed who might be behind the lectern Trebek as soon as manned by not less than the top of 2021. Mayim Bialik, who was introduced beforehand because the host of Jeopardy!’s primetime specials again when Mike Richards was set to host the each day syndicated episodes, will stay within the position as deliberate, but in addition host a number of the each day airings as nicely. As outlined above, Bialik’s schedule would not enable for her to host Jeopardy! full-time, so when she is not accessible, Ken Jennings will host in her place.
Neither Bialik or Jennings’ scandals have gone away in fact, however on the flipside, each proved fairly fashionable with Jeopardy!’s viewers throughout their respective visitor internet hosting stings. The backlash in opposition to them hasn’t been practically as harsh as that in opposition to Richards’ scandals, and it would not be too stunning to see them totally blow over – not less than in terms of mass consideration – earlier than the top of the yr. On the identical time, Bialik is not in a position to host full-time, and after what occurred with Richards, it is probably that Jeopardy‘s overlords at Sony Photos Tv do not wish to take care of one other public row if they offer Jennings the everlasting gig. With LeVar Burton taking himself out of the operating now too, it is probably that the brand new everlasting host could also be somebody who’s by no means hosted earlier than.
Why Discovering Alex Trebek’s Alternative Has Gone Incorrect
After having Alex Trebek as a well-recognized, recurring determine on tv for over 35 years, his successor was by no means going to be met with common approval. Plainly, Jeopardy! took too lengthy to decide on his successor. There ought to have been a internet hosting contingency plan set for his passing, particularly since he publicly introduced his battle with stage IV pancreatic most cancers in early 2019 and the executives probably knew in regards to the state of affairs beforehand. Moreover, Trebek was already set to retire probably after the top of his contract in 2022, which means, both method, Jeopardy! must discover a new host quickly. Had Jeopardy! discovered somebody with the flexibleness to decide to signing on in 2022 and even earlier, a lot of the internet hosting mess may have been prevented.
It additionally might have been a smoother transition had Trebek had a say in who would substitute him contemplating every doable successor would inevitably be in comparison with the legendary beloved host. In truth, Trebek mentioned in a TMZ interview again in 2018 that his personal selections to take over had been 32-year-old NHL broadcaster Alex Faust and CNN authorized analyst Laura Coates. Jeopardy! would nonetheless must see if both even wished the gig or had been match, however Alex’s blessing carries lots of weight. Though Ken Jennings is seemingly out of the operating for everlasting host, some would like to see another acquainted Jeopardy! faces be thought of for the position, significantly notable champions Buzzy Cohen or James Holzhauer. It’s doable that selecting proper from the prevailing pool of beloved Jeopardy! contestants may make for the smoothest transition – it is a part of the cause why Jennings had the best visitor host scores.
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