WSJ: Ken Jennings' nasty Tweets cost him the Jeopardy job

The Wall Street Journal covers the chaos surrounding Sony's efforts to replace the late Alex Trebeck as host of popular television game show Jeopardy. I suspect vaguely that this is a distraction item sourced to Sony insiders to distract everyone from its own hapless incompetence in managing and vetting candidates: it reveals that a fan favorite, Ken Jennings, was removed from consideration because of his penchant for nasty tweets.

While Mr. Jennings didn't have much experience hosting, the executives at Sony and producers at "Jeopardy!" were confident that he would grow into the role. He was a fan favorite and already a familiar face to the "Jeopardy!" machine from working as a consultant on the show since 2020. Then came the old tweets.

"Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair," read one of the tweets from 2014. Mr. Jennings apologized, but the succession plan started unraveling.

More recently, he defended a pal who had been exposed as an antisemitic twitter troll (under the guise of satire, as is so often the case) but that isn't cited here.

The quest for a host is indeed a mess. First, the show's executive producer, never a celebrity of any caliber, machinated his own installation as host and immediately lost the job when his own sexist and antisemitic podcast jokes were exposed. Even now, Sony is still backing him to run the show, as if there were no more skeletons in the closet. The occasional co-host he picked to sweeten the decision, Mayim Bialik, is currently filling in. But she has promoted pseudoscience, suggested that dressing modestly protects women from sex pests, and entertained the idea that C-section babies should be left to die to improve the stock of the human race.

Some people (presumably including LeVar Burton) wonder why Sony can't find someone who isn't a weird asshole to present the show. Others are whining about the 'cancel culture' of excluding them on the basis of these remarks.

But surely the real problem here is that the decisionmaking group is a tiny, cloistered group of TV business executives who cannot really grasp what The Humans are thinking because their priorities and incentives are alien to us. Which gets us to another question: why do so many people care about Jeopardy? It isn't even a good game show!