I would like to open this article by unequivocally stating: Congratulations to Mayim Bialik. I very much look forward to watching her host the show’s prime-time spin-off specials, and very much look forward to covering those episodes.
Many of you have very much noticed that during Season 37, I have become more and more vocal in my opposition to Mike Richards. It’s a shame, because I very much wanted him to carry on the excellent job that Harry Friedman did in his many years as Executive Producer of the show.
Unfortunately, Mike Richards has yet to seemed to grasp the ethos of the show. The tone-deaf judges’ ruling in Final Jeopardy! in only Richards’ second episode as Executive Producer was a harbinger of things to come.
The ethos of Jeopardy! is truth. People trust Jeopardy! because they believe that the show is telling the truth. People trusted Alex Trebek because they believed he told the truth. When it came out last week that Mike Richards misrepresented the reasons behind his guest host stint, and was ultimately rewarded for it, it soured me and others on Richards even further. If we can’t trust what Richards is saying, how can we trust the material he presents as host?
Moreover, the viewers needed to perceive that the selection process was fair. When overwhelming fan favorite LeVar Burton was relegated to a single week of hosting—during the Olympics at that—it was perceived by many as Richards using his influence as Executive Producer to hamstring a major competitor for the host role. And if people don’t perceive the process to be fair, they’re going to be angry. That anger is what you’re seeing spill over on social media platforms, and that anger is what we’ll be seeing in the upcoming days and months. Going back to trust: If you don’t trust Mike Richards because you think he’s already trying to hurt Burton’s chances, how are you going to trust that LeVar Burton’s guest episodes were edited fairly? (After all, if LeVar received a poor edit, it might cause his supporters to be mocked online.)
All that I and many other fans wanted was for the host replacement process to be seen as fair. And with the announcement of Mike Richards as a host today, I don’t feel that I got that.
If you’re wondering what my future plans are: I won’t stop covering the show. I will still operate this website. You’ll very much likely find more statistical analysis. I’m going to be selfish here: this is as much a vehicle for professional skill-building for me as it is a repository of show recaps and statistics. It’s clear that this show isn’t going to last forever, and I’m clearly going to need to have some marketable skills for when Sony realizes that they’ve made a mistake that’s impossible to come back from with this hire, and the show enters the annals of history. Until then, I hope you enjoy my analysis.
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