I saw this recently on The Hollywood Reporter – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Why the Host of ‘Jeopardy!’ Matters: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-features/kareem-abdul-jabbar-jeopardy-host-matters-1235002645/. Longer article, but here are the basics.
BY KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR August 25, 2021
The focus on the sudden stepping down of newly selected Jeopardy! host Mike Richards over insensitive and out-of-touch sexist comments misses the deeper reason the show’s search for a new host has become such a dramatic public debacle. The way the show’s producers handled the transition from the Golden Age of Trebek is just as insensitive and out-of-touch as Richards’ smarmy comments. Even though producers recently announced the delightful Mayim Bialik — an acclaimed actor and Ph.D. in neuroscience — as the temporary host, their tone-deaf misstep suggests the problem may not be just a bad branch, but a rotten root.
Since 1984 — perhaps as an unconscious rebuttal to Orwellian fears of dystopian ignorance — Jeopardy! has been the paragon of game shows as well as a thumbed nose at perpetual complaints that television is just a vast wasteland. It proudly celebrates knowledge and intelligence when other game shows prefer slapstick humor or simple tasks slightly more challenging than cornhole at a backyard barbecue. While these other game shows are admittedly all in good fun and cheerfully entertaining, the source of their fun is often contestant greed, not accomplishment. That’s perfectly legitimate and enjoyable entertainment. However, it focuses on the basest instincts of humanity while Jeopardy! honors our aspirational side.