Though game shows have had their time in the negative limelight on occasion, Jeopardy! is one of those shows where the biggest controversy normally involves a mustache. But the most recent Sony info-dump revealed that host Alex Trebek recently got so angry with producers that he threatened to quit the show. Well, it wasn’t really a threat. But then neither is a horse head in your bed.
Funnily enough, the inciting incident took place during a taping of Kids Jeopardy. (And not even a special Ruffians Only edition.) One of the young contestants ended the game with a negative amount of money, making her ineligible for Final Jeopardy. That’s the way Jeopardy! works. But the girl got extremely upset with this fate, and she sobbingly took off backstage with her mother. Eventually, everyone calmed down enough to watch the next episode’s taping. All good, right?
According to RadarOnline, the mother then sent an email, calling Trebek out for not going backstage to show the girl some compassion. She says her daughter “is not a sore loser” but that she was upset because she couldn’t play to the end. (“Sore eliminated contestant” just doesn’t have that ring to it.) Apparently feeling pressured by this woman’s claim that she’ll never forgive Trebek, the show’s producers asked him to retape the segment, in an effort to avoid any future negative publicity concerning his “perceived insensitivity.”
Trebek's gloriously straightforward alleged response essentially says that he's defended the series against attacks for 30 years, but he doesn't feel he's receiving the same support in return. He goes on to suggest that if he's not doing things right, maybe it's time he moves on. And that, in his words, is not a threat, but just how he's feeling.
The next time I go fishing, I’m going to tell the fish that the hook isn’t a threat, it’s just how I’m feeling. I can’t say that anything drastic will become of this – Matt Lauer’s name did come up as a host replacement last year – as the story said Trebek later dropped the hostility. But it was well-earned hostility in my book. If they wanted him to make a personal apology, that would be bad enough, but retaping a segment just because a contestant thinks the long-established rules are unfair is just idiotic.
Who do you guys think was right in this case?