Now who would be the new ‘Jeopardy!’ host?

2021-08-22 23:11:40

The neatest sport present on TV made a rookie mistake. And now Sony wants a brand new “Jeopardy!” host — once more.

I’ve been speaking with this yr’s visitor hosts, wannabe hosts, brokers, TV executives and others near the Mike Richards mess. The sources have the identical questions I’ve: Why did Sony botch this so badly? Did Richards rig the host search in his favour? Will he stay the present’s government producer? And who will take over as host?

To deal with that last query first, many of the sources mentioned Ken Jennings is now the hands-down favorite for the host job. “They’ve to provide it to him now, do not they?” one TV agent mentioned.

Jennings was mentioned to be a finalist the primary time round, and he has mentioned all the suitable issues within the press this month. He has stayed with the present as a consulting producer as properly. “I hate that one thing pure like that must be sullied by backstage drama,” he informed The New York Occasions on Friday.

The opposite title that retains arising is LeVar Burton. He tweeted “Completely happy Friday, y’all!” proper after Richards stepped apart; that tweet has racked up greater than 100K likes.

And do not forget, “Mayim Bialik was employed to host a sequence of prime time ‘Jeopardy!’ specials and spinoffs,” so she is “seemingly now a severe contender for the full-time job,” the Los Angeles Occasions famous.

I am questioning if Sony will check out some new names — of us like CNN senior authorized analyst Laura Coates who had been snubbed the primary time round. The corporate has some fast choices to make since manufacturing of the brand new season is underway.

“They’re actually lacking a grand alternative right here to maintain enjoying the Closing Jeopardy music on a loop till they decide,” CNN producer Kristin Wilson quipped.

WILL RICHARDS REMAIN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER?

My impression is that the reply is not any, Richards will not be there for much longer. As NPR’s Linda Holmes put it: “How do you make somebody the boss who did not meet the character necessities to be the host?”

However Richards nonetheless has the job in the interim, and any exit from the chief producer position will seemingly require a negotiation between his brokers and Sony.

The Occasions’ story notes that Richards “should take care of a dispirited ‘Jeopardy!’ employees whose frustrations erupted in an emotional assembly on Thursday, the place crew members informed Mr. Richards his previous conduct had imperiled the present’s popularity.”

Sony execs allowed the producer-turned-host to say he “stepped down,” citing the controversy over “previous incidents and feedback.” However this was a company save-the-ship transfer. It was all because of Claire McNear, a reporter at The Ringer who’s extremely well-sourced in “Jeopardy!” land because of her 2020 e book in regards to the present, which is now transferring up the Amazon chart.

With the assistance of her Ringer colleagues, she uncovered a litany of offensive feedback in Richards’ previous — feedback Sony ought to have uncovered earlier than Richards was employed as government producer. Sony mentioned Friday that “we had been stunned this week to study of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used previously.” So in different phrases, the corporate did not do primary vetting of its government producer and host.

“The general public response” to the story “satisfied Sony that it might be unimaginable for Mr. Richards to proceed as host,” the Wall Avenue Journal reported. So manufacturing was halted on Friday morning. However the 5 episodes Richards led will nonetheless air. And manufacturing will resume Monday with visitor hosts. What a humiliation for Sony. What a irritating sideshow for the native TV stations that rely on the sport present’s excessive rankings. And what a disappointment for the contestants who’re imagined to be the celebrities of the present. This is my full report for Friday night’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

WAS THE TRYOUT PROCESS

I do not imply rigged in a literal sense, after all. However “Mike wished the job from the very starting,” a supply with data of the tryout course of mentioned Friday. “And I feel he manipulated it in such a means in order that he was the suitable alternative.” That is the consensus view among the many sources I spoke with. They wish to know: Have been the opposite visitor hosts actually set as much as succeed? Have been their greatest episodes proven to focus teams? What in regards to the individuals who wished to check out and had been turned down — had been certified candidates with previous sport present expertise turned away on goal?

On Friday I picked up on plenty of sourness not simply towards Richards, however towards Sony executives like Tony Vinciquerra as properly. “Tony has to personal this screwup,” one of many visitor hosts mentioned. Vinciquerra was at Thursday’s tapings with Richards, however was silent in regards to the matter on Friday.

CNN MEDIA CRITIC BRIAN LOWRY’S TAKE

Brian Lowry writes: “Whereas it is easy to jot down question-formed headlines about what a debacle the ‘Jeopardy!’ host story has been for Sony, let’s not spare the media, which bought swept up within the romantic, populist-sounding excellent that by publicly auditioning all of those candidates, the viewers can be allowed to dictate the ultimate resolution. When Richards was anointed, folks appeared to come back late to a realization that appeared seemingly from the beginning: Whereas the rotating hosts garnered consideration and purchased time, selecting a alternative was going to boil right down to executives/producers, not public opinion.

The entire train dropped at thoughts a current NYT oped by Annalee Newitz, below the overreaching headline, ‘From Loki to Brooklyn 9-9, Followers Are Calling the Pictures.’ Followers absolutely have extra enter now in artistic choices — and extra direct methods of expressing it — within the present surroundings, however there are limits to what Newitz known as ‘the age of fan service,’ and maybe some naivete about how choices and offers get made.”


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