The search for the next “jeopardy!” »The host made for the big television

The most speculated podium in entertainment could have a new occupant.

The news that Mike Richards, executive producer of “Jeopardy! throughout the world of television took turns reading the answers and asking for questions.

To a viewer who has consulted each of the guest hosts, this result seems both predestined and surprising. The presence of Richards, an insider of the show, among much more well-known hosts raised eyebrows somewhat from the start. Richards’ performance was technically assured: he was once a host on lesser shows like “Beauty and the Geek,” and it’s no surprise that he is familiar with the show he produces. But other hosts did a more effective job of bringing out the candidates’ personalities than Richards, who could be somewhat blunt. Likewise, his tributes to Trebek ended the show. Though his intentions seemed good, Richards, in paying endless homage to his predecessor, ended up coming across as the one thing the charming and simple Trebek was rarely: staid.

There will be time for Richards to grow in the role, and once the deal is done, fans of the franchise must now support him: he must be the host that we have on a show whose legacy and format distinguish it from others. its competitors. And it’s time for the series to settle into its new order – the search couldn’t go on forever. Whether or not Richards was always the choice, however, the show did itself a disservice by letting the process of browsing the guests take place for a bit. Not only did the electricity of proximity to Trebek’s sad loss fade a bit – the hosts became a bit less flowery in their remembrance over time – but the show also worked on some possibilities of what could work and what could not. The modern viewer’s only significant encounter with the series had been with Trebek at the helm. What might that be like with, say, a more radically empathetic emcee, like Katie Couric? Or a more terse one, like Aaron Rodgers? Or a more enthusiastic one, like LeVar Burton?

Couric, like others in her cohort, said she had no interest in the job, so her essay was just hypothetical – a chance, perhaps, to see what a host like Couric could bring to the role, or what a future host might learn from her. The fact that Rodgers and Burton were actively campaigning for the post in the press added a fascinating wrinkle to the process. (And that Burton, a fan favorite with decades of on-camera experience who wanted the job vocally, couldn’t find the appropriate tone suggests that finding a new host, and that accommodation, isn’t as easy as the analyst on the couch might. think.)

There was little real risk in the actual “Jeopardy!” Host list. Put forward – they were, for the most part, either seasoned broadcasters or people who were familiar with the show. (Perhaps the most striking choice was Dr Mehmet Oz, a disinformation broadcaster – who is used to being in front of the camera nonetheless.) But the handing over of what could be the gem of syndicated television to such a long list of possible hosts was a bit of a daring thing to do. This created a series of alternatives to which one was going to be the final choice – giving an idea of ​​every possible “Jeopardy! Could watch, and sow the seeds of disappointment when we did win.

Quite frankly, I’m one of those viewers who hoped this choice might take another direction, all the while suspecting that the presence of the executive producer among the contenders made this game one of my doomed personal favorites. But it stings a little less than it might have had Richards just been announced as the host from the start.

This can be somewhat surprising. We’ve seen hosts throughout this process who were just more convincing than Richards, of course. But the key point that the succession of guest hosts may have been this: That the identity of the host matters less than you might think.

Trebek, to be clear, is certainly missed by us – and his farewell to viewers was painful and moving. It has become iconic over the decades, and perhaps over time Richards will have the chance to do all that equates to our fractured media landscape. But if we do stipulate that Trebek brought something special to the series that cannot be replaced, his many potential successors, with many differences in temperament, all basically operated from a playbook he had established.

“Jeopardy! It creates its own gravity. Its competitors were, in the end, the stars – no matter how much the intrigue and novelty of various hosts managed to attract attention. And “In danger! Is more likely to change the style of his so far untested pending host than to change it by him.


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