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It’s difficult to decipher the message we should get from the Mike Richards/Jeopardy debacle. It’s easy enough to say “well, someone should have stepped in and stopped this from happening in the first place,” but Mike Richards was the guy, the executive producer of Jeopardy, who would have been responsible for stopping his own hiring. Instead, Richards faked a contest to see who should be the new Jeopardy host, then he hired himself and tried to whitewash his own sexist, problematic past statements. No one even “fired” Richards – on Friday, he was allowed to “step down” as host, a position he Dick Cheney’d himself to get. He remains as Jeopardy’s EP and will likely be responsible for hiring his replacement as host. From the NY Times:
Mike Richards’s first and, as it turned out, last day of filming as the host of “Jeopardy!” began with a gathering that executives at the long-running quiz show hoped would symbolize a fresh start. In a taped ceremony on Thursday at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, Calif., Sony revealed that the “Jeopardy!” studio would be renamed for Alex Trebek, the beloved host who died last year. Mr. Richards smiled as cameras rolled and Mr. Trebek’s widow and children looked on.
Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Richards had quit his hosting gig, “Jeopardy!” production was placed on hold, and the show’s fans were struggling to understand how a television institution and staple of the American living room could have botched a succession plan after 37 years of stability and success.
Sony said Mr. Richards would remain as executive producer. But he must contend with a dispirited “Jeopardy!” staff whose frustrations erupted in an emotional meeting on Thursday, where crew members told Mr. Richards his past behavior had imperiled the show’s reputation, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive internal discussions.
The show’s search will now start again with another series of guest hosts. Mr. Richards’s week of telecasts, including five episodes that he filmed on Thursday, are set to air the week of Sept. 13. Mayim Bialik, the sitcom star, will remain as host of “Jeopardy!” prime-time specials.
On Friday, Sony said in a statement that it had been “surprised” to learn of Mr. Richards’s offensive podcast comments, but praised him for leading “Jeopardy!” in the wake of Mr. Trebek’s death. “It is our hope that as executive producer he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect,” Sony said.
[From The NY Times]
Sony executives have no business being “surprised” by Richards’ podcast comments considering he was facing corporate investigations into very similar behavior from his time as producer on The Price Is Right. You hire a well-known toxic bro and then express surprise that he acts like a toxic bro? Nah. And Richards absolutely needs to be pulled off the search committee for his replacement. If he’s allowed to continue, Richards will ensure that someone like Joe F–king Rogan takes over.
The NYT also had this interesting little aside in their coverage – apparently, Sony CEO Anthony Vinciquerra, Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen were all invited to watch Richards’ first day of filming. Cohen and Kennings were “escorted from the soundstage to a nearby green room, where they watched the taping over a closed feed.” Richards wouldn’t let them watch from the audience. That’s the kind of toxic male bullsh-t we’re dealing with.
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 20, 2021
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