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Here’s what vocal — and local — fans are saying about the ‘Jeopardy!’ host decision

In this screenshot released on June 25, Mike Richards (left) accepts the award for Outstanding Game Show for "Jeopardy!" during the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast on June 25, 2021. In this image provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., guest host Mayim Bialik appears on the set of "Jeopardy!"Photo by Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images, Carol Kaelson/Jeopardy Productions, Inc. via AP

One glance at Twitter Wednesday spelled out a clear reaction: No.

No matter who you were cheering for, no one seemed happy with Sony’s decision to hire “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards as permanent host of the show.

Actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik — a fan favorite many hoped would get the full-time job — will serve as something of a special events host, taking the podium for “Jeopardy!” prime-time events and spinoff series.

Support for the decision has been hard to find online — it even got the “My fall plans/Delta”-meme treatment.

Overall, LeVar Burton was the clear fan-favorite for the job. The tweets in support for the former “Reading Rainbow” host were legion and overwhelming for months, summed up well in this tweet:


“jeopardy: we’re searching for a new host

everyone: ok we want @levarburton...

j: congrats to mike richards

e: that’s not how you spell levar”

“Jeopardy!” has been faced with the money question — who will fill Alex Trebek’s shoes? — since his passing last November, and I’ve been following and ranking guest hosts for the Globe — the first 8 in May, and the whole batch earlier this week.

I was #TeamBuzzy all the way, rooting for Buzzy Cohen, the 36-year-old former contestant, with LeVar as my number two, and Bialik third — though she was the favorite for many Globe readers, according to the many emails in my inbox after the story ran. More on that later.

When Variety reported Aug. 4 that Richards was in “advanced negotiations” to become permanent host, social media freaked that it wasn’t a clear “yes” for Burton. Many said “Jeopardy!” wasn’t reading the room.

Burton fans had tweeted his showtimes to make sure his ratings were high. Vocal Burton champion and actress Yyvette Nicole Brown (she played Shirley on “Community”) told the Wall Street Journal: “He’s a good, loving, informative and educational part of our lives. He just, to me, has the DNA of Mr. Trebek.”


When the official announcement was LeVar-less, there was immediate backlash — perhaps most vocally from Burton fans.

Former cohost of “The View” Meghan McCain weighed in after the Richards announcement: “Why couldn’t they just give it to @levarburton like literally everyone on the planet wanted?”

Writer/producer/director Ava DuVernay tweeted — and Burton retweeted — “Me trying to create a show right in this moment for @levarburton to host and make an international hit.”

While Richards wrote in a memo to staff that the “choice on this is not my decision and never has been,” that’s not how it read to some fans who posted about their displeasure on Twitter:

“They can try to spin their ‘decision’ how ever they want but to me its still clear as day its nepotism, just not familial.

“Seems like the Executive Producer, Mike Richards, gave himself the job and is sticking Mayim Bialik in sporadically to mute the outrage. He’s hoping that folks will get used to him so he can phase her out.”

Just unfollowed Jeopardy. I won’t bother watching in the future.”

Many viewers saw the search for a new host as an opportunity for more diversity behind the podium and had their hopes dashed. “Cool. I’ll go back to not watching Jeopardy,” one viewer posted. “They had a chance to cast a permanent minority host, and chose to keep it white. Typical Hollywood.”


Author Luvvie Ajayi Jones tweeted: “YALL COULD HAVE A WHOLE ICONIC LEVAR BURTON BUT YOU PICKING CHAD MCWHITERSON FOR... WHAT???…Jeopardy hiring their Executive Producer after running us thru all these months of guest hosts, including one who is a beloved and iconic LITERACY advocate, is some premium foolishment.”

I ranked the guest hosts in a Globe story this week, and got quite a few emails. Many wanted Bialik for the full-time gig. An inbox sampling:

“I would put Mayim Bialik and Levar Burton ahead of Buzzy.”

“My reaction after 5 minutes of Mayim Bialik was ‘whoa, game over,’ despite never being able to stomach more than a minute or two of her other shows.”

“My choice would be Mayim Bialik. My two criteria were someone who did it well and owned it in their own direction, not acting like Alex. She did well on both.”

“I otherwise generally agree with your choices as to who was good, though I’d put Mayim Bialik 1 and Buzzy 2.”

Judging by the story’s online comments, quite a few Globe readers were rooting for CNBC journalist David Faber.

Regardless of where you look, love for Richards seems scarce. It didn’t help that discrimination lawsuits at “The Price Is Right” during his tenure a decade ago resurfaced last week.


For the record: When I ranked the first batch in May, I had Richards as No. 2. He was charismatic, funny, comfortable on stage — but to paraphrase Lebowski: New stuff has come to light.

At this point, there’s too much drama surrounding the Richards pick. It feels like a stain on the fun and pure joy of knowledge that is “Jeopardy!” Some fans could tune out.

To keep the Lebowski reference going, the host is the rug that ties the room together. And, according to many “Jeopardy!” fans, Richards ain’t the rug for this room.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twiiter @laurendaley1.