I believe the saying goes:
“It’s déjà vu all over again!”
It feels like only yesterday that entertainment betting sites were offering odds on “Who Will Replace Alex Trebek as the Next Full Time Host of Jeopardy?”
Now, we’re back to square one, following Mike Richards’s one-day reign as the full-time host of the quiz show that he also executive produces.
Who knew that Alex Trebek’s passing would trigger the worse succession crisis since King George III?
On this page, we’ll take a look at the field of probable Jeopardy hosts and their odds of being picked to replace Richards, according to Bovada’s oddsmakers.
And yes – LaVar Burton is the favorite!
|Jeopardy Host||Odds||Jeopardy Host||Odds|
|LeVar Burton||-125||Anderson Cooper||+1800|
|Ken Jennings||+150||Bill Whitaker||+2000|
|Aaron Rodgers||+700||Sanjay Gupta||+2000|
|Alex Faust||+1200||Savannah Guthrie||+3000|
The Mike Richards Saga
If you’re already familiar with the story, scroll to the next section for my favorite bets. That said, it’s critical to understand how we got here (another hosting search), since it’ll play a key role in determining who Sony picks to lead Jeopardy this time.
If you haven’t kept up with this hugely important matter, you’ve missed the latest proxy skirmish in the eternal cultural war – fought by people who never watch Jeopardy but are now passionately invested in who gets the hosting gig.
Based on social media engagement, one might be under the impression that Jeopardy is the highest-rated television show in America.
It’s not — but again, filtering the hosting search through the prism of one’s personal beliefs and using it to make broader sociopolitical arguments on Twitter provides a bigger hit of dopamine than watching three strangers compete over trivia questions.
So, people were already furious when Mike Richards, an executive producer on Jeopardy, was named Alex Trebek’s permanent replacement.
However, Sony soon learned that if you’re going to make unpopular hiring decisions, they better have a squeaky-clean past.
- On August 18, The Ringer published a report on Richards’s history of making sexist comments — providing examples from an old podcast and from his time as the executive producer of The Price is Right.
- They also uncovered two accusations of pregnancy discrimination against the 46-year-old EP made by former Price is Right models — both were settled out of court.
Within 48 hours of The Ringer article’s publication, Mike Richards resigned and took his place among “the canceled.”
The search for a new permanent host of Jeopardy was back on!
Another One (DJ Khaled Voice)
“As many Jeopardy! fans have recently pointed out on social media, however, a closer look at the views publicly espoused by Bialik reveals that she has spent the past decade espousing toxic, false, and, in many cases, highly dangerous views about gender, sexuality, health, and science.
“But it’s arguably her role as a parenting influencer — peddling medical misinformation and retrograde views to a vulnerable population of new parents — where she’s potentially done the most harm. Comments she made in a 2010 issue of Self, which surfaced recently on social media, underscore the toxicity of her beliefs. Bialik is a home birth advocate, and what she told writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner about c-sections is particularly worrisome:
“‘There are those among us who believe that if the baby can’t survive a home labor, it is OK for it to pass peacefully. I do not subscribe to this, but I know that some feel that… if a baby cannot make it through birth, it is not favored evolutionarily.'”
Yeah…she’s a goner.
Who will be the next to offer themselves up on the altar of social media vetting?
Sinners and wrongthinkers need not apply – only the purest of souls, never having uttered an inappropriate or controversial word or opinion, are worthy of hosting Jeopardy.
LeVar Burton (-125)
If the Sony executives in charge of this hiring process have a brain in their heads, they’ll use this mulligan to recoup some of the goodwill lost by the Richards fumble.
- In today’s social climate, picking a middle-aged white guy – who worked on the show, no less – was already a tone-deaf decision, especially with well-known celebrities opening vying for the position.
- Now, your interim host has been caught espousing weird eugenicist theories, admitting to not vaccinating her children (back in 2009, so the pre-covid definition of “anti-vaxxer”) and suggesting Harvey Weinstein’s victims may have avoided sexual assault by dressing more modestly. (She’s repeatedly claimed the comments were taken out of context. I won’t judge any of what she said; what matters here is how it’s being framed and interpreted by the masses.)
They can’t afford to mess this up again.
According to TMZ, sources within Jeopardy’s production team say that LeVar Burton was never given serious consideration for the job, despite being an audience favorite. The Sony executives reportedly didn’t think he was the “right fit.”
The petition and subsequent online campaign resulted in Burton’s brief stint as guest host. But now we know they were only capitalizing on the wave of enthusiasm and never intended to give him a real shot at the full-time role.
All this negative press came out just this month:
- An executive producer on the show won the hosting search, invalidating the entire process;
- Richards’s controversial comments;
- interim host Mayim Bialik’s history of sharing wild opinions publicly;
- and the Sony execs not taking fan favorite LeVar Burton seriously.
That’s a perfect storm of terrible PR.
Fortunately, for their sake, they’ve been granted an opportunity to make all of it right. I don’t see how they pass on LeVar Burton again.
Like a butterfly in the skyyyyyy,
LeVar can go twice as highhhhhhh;
Take a look, it’s in a book,
a Reading Ra–JEOPARDY!
Alex Faust (+1200)
There’s one other acceptable move Sony can make if they still won’t give the hosting job to LeVar Burton.
Before he died, Alex Trebek named two people he thought should replace him: NHL sportscaster Alex Faust and CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates as prospective successors.
“The fellow that does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings, they should consider him,” Trebek said of Faust in a 2018 interview with TMZ’s Harvey Levin.
“There is an attorney, Laura Coates,” he added. “She’s African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time.”
I guess there are worse ways to randomly see your name show up on TMZ! 🤷🏻♂️
I’m flattered by Mr. Trebek’s kind words, and delighted to hear he’s a big @LAKings fan! 👑
— Alex Faust (@alex_faust) July 30, 2018
After back-to-back screw-ups, perhaps the most intelligent thing Sony could do is admit they blew it, and rather than go through the entire trial process again, say that they’ll respect the late Alex Trebek’s input and give the role to Coats or Faust.
Alex Faust is the only one with betting odds, so let’s hope they go with him.