In November 2020, Alex Trebek died and left huge shoes that needed to be filled. So as Sony searched for someone to replace him, they generated a lot of publicity. After all, season 38 was about to start, the first one without Trebek, and Matt Amadio was the reigning champion with an 18-game winning streak. However, all this excitement would soon be overshadowed by some drama that would top the headlines.
Searching for a Replacement
As you already know, the search for Trebek’s replacement was a large story that filled the TV news headlines. Everyone wanted to know who would replace the longtime host. The search took months, and Sony published updates about every step they took. As the search continued, a series of guests hosts filled in on the show. In addition, Sony brought in focus groups, the executives gave their opinions, and the company vetted many different candidates.
At the head of the search process was the show’s executive producer Mike Richards. In the end, Sony decided to name Richards as the show’s new host, which immediately brought about controversy. Since the search was so public, the media questioned whether he was the best fit for the position or just hired himself. Sony fought against these claims by noting how he was removed from the selection process once he was named a candidate.
Finding The Controversial Background
Despite his extensive knowledge of random facts, the Constitution, and other information that landed him the job, Richards was immediately attacked because of his controversial background. The first topic that the media dragged up was his wrongful termination suit against The Price is Right, of which he had been the executive producer. Sony knew about this issue when they hired Richards.
The second thing to get dragged out against Richards was when he had been part of a podcast back in 2013 and 2014. In a poor attempt at comedy, he had made jokes that were considered inappropriate. Sony had already learned about these comments during the vetting process. For the first week of the new season, Sony continued filming, and Richards remained the host. Although Sony did not address the issue publicly, Richards apologized for his past comments and volunteered to take sensitivity training. That said, he stepped down from his position after this put more attention on him than Jeopardy!
Firing Him Due to Cancel-Culture
Due to his controversial background and the many faces of cancel-culture, Richards stepped down from his position almost immediately after his appointment. However, the biggest bombshell occurred shortly afterward when Sony fired him as the show’s executive producer. Nevertheless, the show is once again continuing, with many different guest hosts taking over. That said, the damage has already been done as the show undergoes a PR nightmare.
The PR Nightmare That Ensued
Even though the show is still playing, there has been a lot of blowback around this decision. Richards did an excellent job as the show’s host, but the attacks on Twitter caused his past to be brought into the spotlight rather than his performance on Jeopardy! The attacks continue, and the quality of the guest hosts is being overlooked because of the spotlight that is being shined on Richards, creating a PR nightmare.
This saga is just another example of a cancel-culture nightmare ruining people’s lives. Due to the intense vetting process, Sony knew about Richards’ history before hiring him. However, cancel-culture demanded that he step down from his position and pressed Sony to fire him, which resulted in the loss of what could have been the next Alex Trebek.