After Sony Pictures Television fucked up by hiring Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards as the game show’s new host, backlash over allegations of sexual harassment and workplace discrimination against Richards cost him the job. He resigned last week, claiming it was so his hiring wouldn’t be “too much of a distraction” for fans of the show. Mayim Bialik is stepping in as interim host while the show finds a new slew of guest hosts and a new successor to the late Alex Trebek, though she brings her own baggage to the podium. It previously seemed like Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings would inherit the role, according to previous reports about his dynamic with Trebek. (For what it’s worth, he was our top pick for the job, too.) Fans have been wondering why Jennings wasn’t a shoo-in—and now we have an answer.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Jennings’ Twitter account contributed to him losing the job. One 2014 tweet in particular—“Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair”—was widely circulated in the lead-up to Jennings’ stint as Jeopardy! guest host, and also resurfaced when he came to the defense of his Omnibus co-host John Roderick during the latter’s “Bean Dad” fiasco. Jennings issued an apology on social media, but people familiar with the host-selection process told WSJ that Jennings’ image was tarnished by the tweets: Executives at Sony reportedly cooled on Jennings in response to his Twitter activity. The tweets are also said to have impacted focus groups’ reactions to Jennings. “The succession plan started unraveling” from there, the WSJ writes.
Now that Jennings is no longer in the running, we’d like to know if Buzzy Cohen’s still being considered. As a fellow Jeopardy! champ who doesn’t have any problematic tweets (as far as we know, anyway), he seems like a great pick.