What is 'How to Cluster**** Your Legacy', Alex

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minds his own damn business
Anyone else been following the increasingly deeply embarrassing debacle over Sony's handling of naming the successor to Alex Trebek?


Like (all?) a lot of you, I couldn't pick Mike Richards out of a line-up of Pee Wee Herman impersonators. At first, I'm thinking, "Say, Kramer would make a pretty interesting Jeopardy host." So who is this weasel anyway? We've learned a lot lately, since he was announced as the official new host a couple of weeks ago. Since then he's quit, but still got fired anyway, and is now in some kind of PR rehab facility. This article from The Ringer offers the best summation of his background and career, including some extensive examples of his misogyny, classism and overall douchebaggery, as well as a number of specific examples of how he very deliberately rigged the selection process for the new host to all but guarantee his selection, all while pretending to not even be in the running. "A smile with sharp teeth" is how he's described, and there's a long line of collegues from his previous productions that are eager to testify to his slimey appetite.


So the jist is this: almost as soon as Trebek announces his pancreatic cancer, Richards weasels his way in to an executive producer position like he smells blood in the water. Tales of his ambitions to someday be the host of Jeopardy are legion among those he's worked with. He sabotages Ken Jennings (in some hot water over a dumb joke tweet that still sounds like Will Rogers compared to the quotes we've seen from Richards' podcast) by cutting his stint short and eliminating his role as a writer of some of the show's categories. He coached the other guest hosts in ways which may not have been favorable to their chances. He self-selected the episodes of the guest hosts which were to be analyzed and tested by Sony in determining the final decision, while sidelining other producers involved in the decision from the process. He publicly lied about why he was a guest host and whether he was being considered for the position. And then he took the most popular name on the list of guest hosts, LeVar Burton, and scheduled his episodes against the Olympics, where he was frequently preempted, spiking Burton's ratings. To add insult to injury, Sony announced Richards' contract for permanent host while Burton's episodes were still airing.


But the biggest insult to Alex, personally, besides all of this other professional grabass tomfoolery, is that it's clear that Trebek had already personally selected Ken Jennings as his replacement, leaving behind a pair of cufflinks in his dressing room to commemorate the succession. And Richards is not only styupid and crass, with little interest in trivia or the historical/cultural content of the show, but was also intending to dumb-down the show's categories and questions, and to ditch the long-standing qualification process by hiring a professional casting agency to choose future contestants (so they can be beauty vetted) rather than have them selected based on rigorous try-outs.


We may have dodged a bullet, or Richards just may be exactly the kind of milk-faced corporate monkey that is destined to come down the Sony pike. Either way, we're clearly not going to have another Alex Trebek in this business anytime soon.
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The trick is not minding
Yeah, Iíve been keeping up with it. Itís a huge mess. Everything above written about him has only further illuminated the kind of snake he really is.

Mayim Bialik, who is the current guest host, is facing criticism for her past comments on being anti-vaccination. I believe she has since reversed her position, though. (Weíre talking years ago)*
All of Which pales in comparison to the Richards controversy to be honest.



It's a mess indeed. I was reading an interview yesterday with a past contestant who was commenting on how all this mess was against Trebek's wish, to let the contestants be the stars, and not the host. By parading a revolving door of A-listers, the show did just the opposite.
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I haven't watched Jeopardy regularly in years, but I have fond memories of the Ken Jennings era. I was a high school trivia kid soon after, so I have some of the same fondness for him that I suspect others do for LeVar Burton. I would have expected one of them to have been Trebek's successor, so like most people I was baffled by the choice of Not Kramer, even if I hadn't been following it too carefully.


Appreciate you sharing that Ringer article. I'd only been aware of the podcast comments, which while gross could have been explained by a context or dynamic of which I was unaware. His role in the selection process is a lot more nefarious and bothers me much more as it reeks of the kind of sociopathic corporate opportunism that feels much more immediate to my experience. The fact that he leveraged a man's death for his personal gain is...ugh.



Ö it's clear that Trebek had already personally selected Ken Jennings as his replacement, leaving behind a pair of cufflinks in his dressing room to commemorate the succession.
Possibly true, but there are any number of articles saying that Trebek could not stand Jennings & was mightily disturbed at how long Ken was a contestant on the show.

Whatever. Itís all good publicity for the show.
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I always thought Jennings was the sensible and most obvious option. He's probably the most notable champion, he already has experience as a game show host, most people like him... of course, those past comments pretty much nuked his options, or at least, muddled the path for him, but I still think it should be him.



...I couldn't pick Mike Richards out of a line-up of Pee Wee Herman impersonators...
They outta just hiring Paul Rubens to host...and as Pee Wee Herman too. That would actually get me to watch Jeopardy.



I always thought Jennings was the sensible and most obvious option. He's probably the most notable champion, he already has experience as a game show host, most people like him... of course, those past comments pretty much nuked his options, or at least, muddled the path for him, but I still think it should be him.
I always liked Buzzy Cohen or whatever his name is.



minds his own damn business
Mayim Bialik, who is the current guest host, is facing criticism for her past comments on being anti-vaccination. I believe she has since reversed her position, though. (Weíre talking years ago)*
Bialik is just irritating to me with her commercials where she brags about being a neuroscientist and then selling some woo naturopathy brain pills with no science behind them at all. Plus there was that op-ed she wrote about Harvey Weinstein where she claimed (bragged, really) that she had never been sexually harassed in Hollywood because, among other things, she had never gotten a nosejob. That's victim-shaming to a gross degree.


True story: At RT, I was pointing out Bialik's op-ed in scathing fashion, and I pointed out a couple of Weinstein's victims who had not appeared to have gotten nosejobs. One of these victims, Chelsea Skidmore, posted a screen shot of this out-of-context portion with a comment like, "Nose-shaming?" I was never really clear onto whom she was making that accusation, but I think it's clear that I wasn't shaming anyone for not having nosejobs (or for having them!), but pointing out that not having a nosejob was no reason to believe that a woman couldn't be sexually harassed as Bialik was implying.


I was reading an interview yesterday with a past contestant who was commenting on how all this mess was against Trebek's wish, to let the contestants be the stars, and not the host. By parading a revolving door of A-listers, the show did just the opposite.
I don't mind a star taking over at the show, but it's the humility that Trebek exuded that a new host needs to have. It's one of Trebek's greatest traits, the ability to express erudition without sounding condescending.



The trick is not minding
Bialik is just irritating to me with her commercials where she brags about being a neuroscientist and then selling some woo naturopathy brain pills with no science behind them at all. Plus there was that op-ed she wrote about Harvey Weinstein where she claimed (bragged, really) that she had never been sexually harassed in Hollywood because, among other things, she had never gotten a nosejob. That's victim-shaming to a gross degree.


True story: At RT, I was pointing out Bialik's op-ed in scathing fashion, and I pointed out a couple of Weinstein's victims who had not appeared to have gotten nosejobs. One of these victims, Chelsea Skidmore, posted a screen shot of this out-of-context portion with a comment like, "Nose-shaming?" I was never really clear onto whom she was making that accusation, but I think it's clear that I wasn't shaming anyone for not having nosejobs (or for having them!), but pointing out that not having a nosejob was no reason to believe that a woman couldn't be sexually harassed as Bialik was implying.



I don't mind a star taking over at the show, but it's the humility that Trebek exuded that a new host needs to have. It's one of Trebek's greatest traits, the ability to express erudition without sounding condescending.
Oh yeah, donít get me wrong, she is very irritating. She has this rather condescending manner about her since sheís one of the rare ďcelebritiesĒ with a degree in neuroscience I think? Her interviews can be off putting.



minds his own damn business
I haven't watched Jeopardy regularly in years, but I have fond memories of the Ken Jennings era. I was a high school trivia kid soon after, so I have some of the same fondness for him that I suspect others do for LeVar Burton.
I tend to player-hate the champs a little. (I've been calling the current champion "Matt Commodio".) It wasn't until 2003 that Jeopardy eliminated the cap on winnings, so winners could only win for five games before they were retired from the show. Jennings wasn't the first mega-winner the show ever had, he was only the first since that cap was lifted. It gives him a skewered accomplishment. But since then he's won the championships, and it was the 'best of the best' one in 2020 which seemed to earn him the right (in many people's eyes) to be next in line.


Possibly true, but there are any number of articles saying that Trebek could not stand Jennings & was mightily disturbed at how long Ken was a contestant on the show.
Hm, I dunno. Maybe he changed his tune. Trebek had also personally asked Jennings to do the audio for his autobiography last year.



minds his own damn business
They outta just hiring Paul Rubens to host...and as Pee Wee Herman too. That would actually get me to watch Jeopardy.
I'd be all for it. (Although I think he had a child porn charge at one point, but was able to beat it.)


My favorites were Bill Whitaker, George Stephanopolis and Burton. Jennings was a little stiff at first, but that's understandable given the pressure.



I don't mind a star taking over at the show, but it's the humility that Trebek exuded that a new host needs to have. It's one of Trebek's greatest traits, the ability to express erudition without sounding condescending.
Totally agree. He was unique.



Oh yeah, donít get me wrong, she is very irritating. She has this rather condescending manner about her since sheís one of the rare ďcelebritiesĒ with a degree in neuroscience I think? Her interviews can be off putting.
Let us not forget her greatest crime against society, The Big Bang Theory.


*vomits uncontrollably*



minds his own damn business
Where's that big brain now, Blossom?



I really liked Art Fleming, who was the first host for 11+ years. At first I didn't like Trebek because he seemed conceited, but later he grew on me. During the late '70s I happened to run into him on the golf course in Griffith Park in L.A. one day. I complimented his work, and he was very gracious.

IMO his successor should not be an existing star. He should be erudite but appealing, commanding but affable. The show should highlight the contestants and the material, not the host.