Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The buzz on Buzzy

This is the one week that Mike Richards will be hosting JEOPARDY.   It was supposed to be his first week as permanent and in a reversal of fortunes that saw him lose the gig and his Executive Producer job on both JEOPARDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE and he is now out of the business.   If only Trump could have such a fall from grace.  (Actually, no -- I don't wish Mike Richards and his whole family go to prison for the rest of their lives.)  

But it puts the parent company, Sony, in a rather embarrassing situation.  Since JEOPARDY is a competition, you can't just eat five episodes. But every minute he's on camera it just reminds the audience of what a fiasco this has become and how ultimately they're responsible. 

And now we're back at square one.  Sony needs to name a permanent host -- sometime before the polar ice cap melts.  After this week Mayim Bialik, who did GREAT, will host for three weeks.  After that, I dunno.

But I found it interesting that when they re-ran the two-week TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, hosted by Buzzy Cohen, that started a groundswell of support for Buzzy.  Newsweek even calls him a new frontrunner.  

Personally, I thought he did a great job.  As for former JEOPARDY champion, Ken Jennings, I imagine he's still on the short-list although his voice is a little weak and you hear the voice constantly since the host reads the clues aloud.   

I'd be happy if Buzzy got the gig.  I also feel that some of his stiffness and nerves would iron out once he had the job and could relax.  

I'd also be thrilled if Mayim got the full-time gig. Of all the guest hosts I thought she was the best.  Just don't let Dr. Oz come within five miles of the studio. 


Lemuel said...

I want Mayim to wear the tiara Sheldon gave her.

Mike Barer said...

Buzzy Cohen, does not seem to have any skeletons in his closet as of yet. I'm totally on board!

William Rabkin said...

I watched last night, and I have to say Mike Richards did a great job. It's a pity that he seems to be kind of a crummy human being in all the wrong ways for this moment, because strictly as a host he's got the skills.

Stephen Cudmore said...

I doubt Richards ever would have been offered the job if Baylik was interested in doing it full time. I woukd be dollars to doughnuts that splitting it up was done to accomodate her acting schedule.

Either Ken or Buzzy will be the guy, now.

Ted. said...

A few thoughts...

I think Mike Richards is actually excellent in the hosting position. He's engaging, matter-of-fact, and keeps the game going. So it's too bad about... all the stuff.

Buzzy Cohen was very good in the guest-host role. And as a former champion, you'd think he would have a leg up. But there doesn't seem to be very much... buzz about him to be the new host.

Mayim Bialik was also good on her guest-host run, but she's too busy revamping her (very not-good) sitcom to take on a job like this full-time. There's also a fairly extensive internet campaign against her, based on things she's said in the past about health and parenting, and the fact that she's become the spokesperson for a brain supplement. (Of course, another brain supplement has actually been one of "Jeopardy"'s main sponsors for years.)

Bill Whitaker and Robin Roberts both seemed fine as guest-hosts. A newscaster might actually be a good choice for this gig.

Ken Jennings would be the natural option, but he really wasn't great in his guest-host run. And on his new prime-time game show, "The Chase" -- in which trivia champs, most of whom are past "Jeopardy" winners, compete against the contestants -- he's downright nasty to the players. That's not what you'd look for in a "Jeopardy" host, and I think it's hurt his chances.

Whoever ends up as the permanent host will take some time to get their bearings. Everyone will criticize them at first, but will eventually think they're just fine. And we'll all just go back to enjoying the game.

Darwin's Ghost said...

You're far too kind, Ken. I don't want prison for Trump and his family. I'd like him to get cancer or Coronavirus, and ditto for the others except, of course, his niece Mary Trump, who isn't on speaking terms with those grotesque monsters because she saw them for what they are.

And before any Republicans attack me for my comment, I'm not going to take lectures on civility from those who baselessly accused Hillary Clinton and now President Biden of having dementia, openly celebrated when she nearly fainted, and thought it was hilarious when the orange turd mocked a reporter with cerebral palsy.

Regarding Jeopardy, Mayim all the way.

Elf said...

Bialik is not a contender for the full-time job because of her commitment to her sitcom. The Jeopardy specials they have planned can be shot around her schedule.

I can't help but think that had they been repeating some of Ken's hosting gig in the aftermath of Richards' firing, the buzz would be about how Jennings is the fan favorite once again.

I'd be OK with Buzzy, but I think Ken has earned it and has earned the chance to grow into the host role. His past indiscretions were very minor, he apologized many times over and it's clear he hasn't fallen into that type of behavior in the many years since those tweets first went out. Plus Ken has been a company man, always doing what was asked of him, never having anything bad to say about the show or management, even in the wake of the Richards' situation and the news that Richards tilted the playing field towards himself. Ken's voice may not be all that strong, but it is authoritative. The other thing he offers is continuity, more than anyone else except Buzzy.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

Forgive me this analogy, but the whole JEOPARDY transfer reminds me of when Brezhnev died in 1982, and there was no clear Soviet successor for several years, before they finally settled on Gorbachev.

No one can replace Alex Trebek, of course. I think they are just scrambling for a solution to a problem that they should have seen coming.

(P.S.--I'm not calling Trebek a Russian dictator.)

George Powell said...

I'd love Mayim as host but if not, Buzzy's the man! As a viewer, I'm fine with him and Buzzy has contagious and genuine enthusiasm.
No problem with Ken Jennings, either; I can look past his voice but perhaps it's a real issue.
In any event, as Ken L says, just name the host for Pete's sake and stick with them!

Andrew said...

@Ere I Saw Elba,

No love for Andropov and Chernenko?

“How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?” - Pres. Reagan

BG said...

Ken, did you not hear Mayim giggling during her shows? Sure, sometimes the clues are clever, but that amount of giggling was over the top.

Kevin said...

I wouldn't be able to watch Mayim if she was the permanent host. It was hard enough listening to her laugh after every correct answer for the limited episodes she hosted. Why does the host have to be someone we know anyway?

Liggie said...

@Ted: Ken Jennings' "nastiness" on "The Chase" is a role; the Chasers in that show are *supposed* to be nasty to the contestants, like a wrestling villain. Same with the British original, and with the American GSN version involving "The Beast". Jennings would play it straight in "Jeopardy!" because it's a different tone and style, and I'm sure he respects that.

As for other guest hosts, IIRC Robin Roberts is leaving "Good Morning America". Assuming her health is stable, she might be a good candidate.

kent said...

The only worthy successor has to be Cliff Clavin.

Roger Owen Green said...

I was always fond of Buzzy as host.
I was surprised how lackluster Ken Jennings was, but it WAS like following Lombardi. Still, I did see him recently on The Chase and found him surprisingly unlikeable.

Michael said...

Let me be conspiratorial. Jennings was the closest thing to an anointed successor. Richards wanted the job. He's executive producer. Does he do anything to hurt Jennings's chances, or that of the others? After what came out about him, why would I think he wouldn't? So maybe we shouldn't judge.

Maybe we need to make this a Niehaus situation, which Ken can explain better than I can, but it goes like this: When Dave Niehaus died, the Seattle Mariners realized that putting someone in as his successor would put terrible pressure on that person. So for a couple of seasons, they had rotating commentators who had previously done Mariners games, including Ken. Eventually, they hired Aaron Goldsmith to do radio with Rick Rizzs, and he appears to be a great choice. We may need a little more time on Jeopardy.

Also, a reminder: In 1984, plenty of people looked at the new host of Jeopardy and said, he's no Art Fleming.

sanford said...

If they are going to try more guest hosts they should give Alex's a shot. https://www.tvinsider.com/1010217/jeopardy-alex-trebek-suggested-these-two-people-to-replace-him-as-shows-host/

Tom Galloway said...

If they're going to do actual tryouts this time*, two people who deserve a shot are Jimmy from the Clue Crew (who when they have a live audience does the warmups and hosts the contestants' pre-game buzzer practice) and Brad Rutter. Two people I'd like to see get a shot are Brooke Burns, who despite having been a regular on Baywatch has shown she does a good job hosting trivia game shows between the GSN Chase and Master Minds, and John Hodgman, who is both smart himself and I've seen do a bit very relevant to doing good contestant interviews. I was at a talk he was giving, when someone in the front row's phone went off. Turned out to the person's mother, and Hodgman grabbed the phone and for several minutes had a very funny (from our end anyway) conversation with her.

Of the former guest hosts, any of Ken, Buzzy, Mayim, or David would be fine with me.

*In the first batch of announced guest hosts, only Ken would've taken the job if offered; the others' existing gigs were too good. Over time, you ended up with Ken, Aaron, Buzzy, and LeVar as definitely interested. I suspect David would've taken it, and had her sitcom been cancelled, I think Mayim would've as well. But the majority were just guest hosting as a temp gig, not competing for the full time job.

Ted. said...

@Liggie: I realize the meanness is a put-on -- nasty hosts are pretty much the norm on British game shows. But Ken really plays that up, in a way that seems unpleasant. And I think that will carry over in people's minds when they're considering who should host "Jeopardy," whether it reflects his actual personality or not. You want someone who's supportive of all the contestants and keeps the focus on them -- not someone who clearly thinks he's smarter than everyone else (even if maybe he is).

Brandon in Virginia said...

If Sony can overlook Ken's tweets from seven years ago, I say he'd make a good host. I liked Buzzy, and thought Mayim did great. However, I understand her commitment to her sitcom. Her past comments may need clarification (or not), and I don't agree with trying to have her "canceled" for what she said.

I'm just ready to get this over with. Mike's past overshadowed what should've been a much simpler process and drew this out longer than it should've gone. It could've been avoided if not for his ego. Unfortunately, no matter who they pick, someone is going to complain or dig up dirt. Where do you draw the line?

Jeff Boice said...

I just hope they ditch the focus groups.

sueK2001 said...

I would love Bonnie Hunt. I loved her talk show. I think she's multi-talented. She's had some hits and misses in her career but it breaks my heart as I think she truly isn't the superstar she should be.

OrangeTom said...

David Faber said today on CNBC he is still in contention. He was great. And I finally saw Buzzy's hosting week recently. I'd be fine with either of them as a permanent host.

I remain curious about why Mayim's past anti-vax, among other bizarre statements, have not received the same scrutiny as prior comments from Mike or Ken. Mother Jones published a well-researched and reasoned article on the topic, but otherwise she seems to be getting a free pass.

Todd Everett said...


A representative for Bialik has now clarified her vaccine stance. “She has been fully vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus and is not at all an anti-vaxxer,” Bialik’s spokesperson said in a statement to TheWrap. This isn’t the first time the Big Bang Theory star and neuroscientist has rebutted anti-vax rumors. In 2015, Bialik tweeted, “dispelling rumors abt my stance on vaccines. i’m not anti. my kids are vaccinated. so much anger and hysteria. i hope this clears things up.”

She further explained how her thinking about immunization had evolved in an October 2020 YouTube video titled, “Anti-Vaxxers and Covid.” Bialik shared that she and her two kids would be receiving both COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots. “This year I’m gonna do something I literally haven’t done in 30 years: I’m gonna get a vaccine. I know! And guess what? I’m actually gonna get two,” she said.“You might be saying, ‘Hey, wait a second, Dr. Mayim Bialik, you don’t believe in vaccines! You’re one of those anti-vaxxers,’” Bialik continued. “I wrote a book about 10 years ago about my experience parenting, and at the time my children had not received the typical schedule of vaccines. But I have never, not once, said that vaccines are not valuable, not useful, or not necessary, because they are.”

She added, “The truth is, I delayed vaccinations for reasons that you don’t necessarily get to know about simply because you follow me on social media…. As of today, my children may not have had every one of the vaccinations that your children have, but my children are vaccinated.” Bialik then detailed her beliefs that children receive “way too many vaccines in this country” and that “the medical community often operate[s] from a place of fear in order to make money.” Still, she found it “very disturbing” that some people would not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I want my immune system to have the best chance at fighting anything that comes its way, especially if that’s COVID,” Bialik said.

Andy said...

I thought Buzzy was surprisingly good. David Faber would be a great host if they want to build a no-name (sorry, Dave) into a star. Mayim Bialik did a great job too, and unlike many JEOPARDY! fans, I would have no problems as a host.

Would be delighted with any of them. Never liked Richards, even before the debacle, and the two episodes so far this week have just confirmed what a smarmy, mediocre host he is.

MikeN said...

People will be looking thru Buzzy's history for anything they can complain about.

Barry Traylor said...

I think some people at SONY need to lose their jobs also. They sure did not their jobs very well.

Barry Traylor said...

It just occurred to me that Sony may have killed the goose that lays golden eggs.

JAHN GHALT said...

When they re-ran the TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS, I thought "who the HELL is Buzzy Cohen??"

Found out he's a "music industry" suit and had a dominant run as a JEOPARDY champ.

I would be fine with him as host - though the lovely and nerdy Mayim Bialik is still my preferred hostess. Cohen is nerdy, too - though not so suave and witty (and acerbic) as the departed Trebek.

I hadn't heard Mike Richards was fired as producer - WOW - it's like he's a COLLEGE PROFESSOR.

Speaking of college professors, I recently passed through New York's brand new Moynihan train terminal. I was reminded of the "new rules" at Harvard restricting profs and co-ed relations. By now this was more than 20 (25?) years ago.

Upon hearing of them then Senator Moynihan commented:

Maybe I should apologize to MY WIFE

Charles Bryan said...

Larry Elder's available.

Roger Owen Green said...

Off-topic, I find JEOPARDY! to be currently boring. It was boring when James had his 32 game run. It was often boring during Ken's run.
When the game is no longer in doubt halfway through Double Jeopardy, I watch it out a sense of completeness, not joy. Mike Richards (and Buck and previous hosts during Mike's run) can point to his records, but it's not like watching 400-foot homers, or a dozen three-point shots, or an 80-yd TD pass.