While I’m not the biggest cancel culture fan, in the case of dropping the chosen replacement for legendary Alex Trebek as host of “Jeopardy,” I’d say it was the right call.
The decision by Sony to yank Mike Richards as the host stemmed from racist and sexist comments the would-be saint’s successor had made years ago on a podcast.
The question now for Sony is whether to keep Trebek’s erstwhile replacement as the beloved show’s executive producer.
On that score I would advise that since he was not fired after those inappropriate remarks surfaced, I’d let Mike keep that job as he’s undoubtedly learned a lesson and his now off-camera role is far less incendiary.
As the show’s executive producer, Richards helped oversee the search for Trebek’s replacement before he himself was named to the position. Reportedly he said in a staff memo that the controversy had made “clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”
He’s dead right about that!
Now comes the usual Monday morning quarterbacking.
Now we have the show’s fans all upset and struggling to understand how after 37 years of stability and success, a television institution and staple of the American living room could have botched a succession plan so badly.
As a crisis manager, I’d have to agree with them as it’s devilishly dangerous to attempt to replace a saint with an unrepentant sinner.
Just as President Biden perhaps should have planned more for the intricacies and hellish consequences of pulling out of Afghanistan, Sony should have probed Richard’s background better instead of putting Jeopardy into such jeopardy.
Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this summer on Amazon. He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981 and has conducted remarkably successful media campaigns and crisis management for America’s largest companies and organizations.