Just when we complained he was in it, “Jeopardy!” host for a day Mike Richards is officially out. . . but still very present in our lives.
Friday, the “Jeopardy!” executive producer who helped run a massive multi-month campaign and like, totally serious, you guys search for a new permanent host before taking the post, announced his decision to give it up.
Richards’ self-selection as the replacement for the late Alex Trebek sparked widespread dismay and led reporters to unearth several sex discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits he was named in, filed by models for “The Price Is Right”, on which he sat. a producer. Richards resolved to continue anyway, and “Jeopardy!” Sony Pictures Television production studio backed him up.
Then The Ringer unearthed an old Richards podcast in which he made anti-Semitic, sexist, racist and phobic jokes. Ignoring past legal documents is one thing. But when the audience can hear the same voice calling the sacred categories on the “Jeopardy!” board saying in pig Latin, “Ix-nay on the ose-nay… She’s not a ew-Jay” while referring to someone’s big nose, he’s an idiot of a different color. This brought the Anti-Defamation League into the business of the series.
There was only one thing Richards could do, even halfway. He left the hosting concert. As of Friday, he was still the show’s executive producer.
“I want to apologize to all of you for the unwanted negative attention that has been paid to ‘Jeopardy! “over the past few weeks and for the confusion and delays it is causing now,” Richards said in an official statement somewhat. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust.”
The statement added that Sony Pictures Television intends to resume the search for a permanent union host, bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season. Richards has filmed a week of episodes, which will air.
In any case, there was great joy on social media. With loud cries written in all caps, the unclean spirits tweeted out of those who were possessed. Many of the crippled and lame on OnlyFans have been healed.
It may seem that with Richards exiled from the catwalk, Sony might reconsider how much they botched this transition from a public perception standpoint. By making these early guest host “tries” a show with no real purpose or weight behind most of them, raised the profile of a show most people only watch occasionally.
Now, theoretically, they have a second shot at fixing this mess.
In that sense, people immediately started campaigning again for internet favorite LeVar Burton to get a second photo, given the less than ideal circumstances surrounding his one and only trial date. (“Jeopardy!” Runs five shows in one day, you see. Most of the guest hosts got two dates; Burton and the suitors who followed him, as well as Robin Roberts, got only one. a.)
Wouldn’t that be wonderful? In fact, no, and not just because it probably won’t happen. Indeed, this should not happen.
No offense to Burton, by the way. Despite his guest host’s slips and faltering performance, he would still be wonderful at the “Jeopardy!” closed off. If Sony executives wanted him, they would give him all the coaching he needed to be successful. He’s an award-winning actor, after all. Of course he can.
But Sony never wanted Burton. They never wanted Robin Roberts either. The late Alex Trebek mentioned CNN legal analyst Laura Coates as one of his two choices to succeed him. You’ll notice that she was never on Sony’s lists either. A likely excuse, if they even knew Coates, let alone considered her, is that the producers might have suspected that too many people were thinking, “Who is Laura Coates?”
But when the nation collectively asked this about Mike Richards, they were convinced we would find out eventually. They were right! We were doing.
I guess they never wanted a person of color. They barely wanted a wife. Mayim Bialik may have landed the prime-time hosting gig and specials – which Newsweek says has also upset some fans – but as of the time it was announced it seemed like a rental. of consolation.
This is said with full gratitude that Bialik gave a magnificent guest host performance. But given that she was one of four women on a list of 16, and the other three are news anchors, it was obvious that Sony wanted and still wants for now: another white man.
If that weren’t true, Richards wouldn’t be executive producer of “Jeopardy!” Yet. with Sony’s blessing, backed by their assurance to Senator Susan Collins that he has learned his lesson. “Mike has been with us for two years and ran the ‘Jeopardy!’ team through the most difficult time the show has ever seen, “its official statement read.” We hope that as an EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.
But if you were a woman or a person of color, would you take it by faith? Would you hand your job over to the guy who originally wanted it, had it, then was forced to give it up due to bad press?
No you. Would have. Not.
Too many uplifting tales are circulating in the entertainment industry – or, heck, on Glassdoor or Reddit – about how such scenarios doomed the suckers invited to these Champs Elysees to be presented as a cliff face.
In fact, a subplot of Netflix’s new limited series “The Chair” tells such a story. In it, a patriarchal white dean pretends to cede a prestigious position to a woman of color while making sure that she never has real decision-making power or a prayer to be successful in her job.
Beware of mandatory spoiler: if you haven’t watched this show, stop reading right now and go watch. It only lasts about three hours and it is well worth it. If you keep reading, a pretty big but very relevant surprise will be blown to you.
Last chance . . .
In “The Chair”, Sandra Oh plays Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the first woman to chair the English department at her university. Paul Larson (David Morse), who is her boss and the dean of the school, loves showing her off at prestigious events. Behind the scenes, he thwarts his efforts to secure the tenure of popular black professor Yasmin McKay (Nana Mensah). Ji-Yoon warns him that Yaz is in high demand in their field, but the dean just doesn’t care.
Granted, Ji-Yoon does make some big mistakes in a diplomatic effort, including forcing an openly envious older professor, Elliot Rentz (Bob Balaban) on Yaz in order to increase his sick class enrollment. Ji-Yoon does this to do Elliot a favor, expecting him to give Yaz a commendation. Instead, he drags Yaz’s lectures and harpoons his performance in his assessment.
None of this compares to Dean Larson’s final insult to Yaz’s skill and intelligence. To alleviate Elliot’s sting that steals Yaz’s glow, Ji-Yoon appoints her Distinguished College Lecturer. Dean Larson casually snatches the honor at the behest of a great benefactor – an old white woman who happily announces that she found a more suitable choice for Distinguished Lecturer while she was shopping.
And it is none other than. . . David Duchovny.
Yes, the actor is playing himself. Duchovny is in fact a bestselling author. He also meets Ji-Yoon in his swimsuit and usually comes across as a smug boob. The “X-Files” star considers his laid-back stay in academia like touring the country with his rock band or shooting a movie. He offers to dust off a paper he never defended and hand it over so he can finally get that doctorate he never managed to complete, like filling out a credit card form.
Ji-Yoon is appalled. Dean Larson is impassive. And although the chair finds a way to improve the situation, his relationship with Yaz is irreparably damaged. All because at an important crossroads, a patriarchal institution decided that the feelings of a status quo white couple were worth more than the potential and abilities of a woman of color, to the point of denying the political power of another colored woman.
So yeah: about the whole thing of Richards keeping his executive producer bag. It is not a great situation that any foreigner should voluntarily enter. Certainly not a non-white person. Even the alternative favorite “Jeopardy!” GOAT Ken Jennings and fellow champion Buzzy Cohen should be wary. But if a some industry insider predictions turn out to be correct, Richards’ executive producer title may also be, shall we say, in a transitional phase.
That said, American audiences are used to forgetting what the men behind the camera have done and can continue to do without millions of eyes, especially after the headlines have gone quiet. Joining the Richards clubhouse may be easier for Jennings and Cohen, and choosing one of them or someone like them may be enough for Sony to keep “Jeopardy!” accompany and bring with him his audience of elderly people.
Meanwhile, there is a smart producer somewhere who can see what “Jeopardy!” didn’t at Burton or Coates or anyone else denied a jerk just by Richards and executives like him. Imagine what would be possible if this person created a general knowledge competition designed to attract a modern and intellectually curious audience while also looking into the future.
It’s a story that I hope someone is bold enough to write with someone like Burton or Roberts or Coates running it. But he will not find an audience within an institution needlessly bruised, too stubborn to part with the “team player” who damaged him.