Jeopardy is still in the process of figuring out its hosting dilemma. In the wake of Mike Richards’ firing, there has been some speculation that former Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings would become the next host of Jeopardy. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, he may have lost out on the job for a very specific reason.
The publication reported that Jennings was actually being lined up to take over as the next, full-time Jeopardy host after Alex Trebek’s death in November. However, things hit a snag due to his past, insensitive tweets. One of those tweets, written in 2014, saw Jennings sharing, “Nothing is sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.” While the tweet was instantly met with backlash, he didn’t apologize publicly until 2018. At the time, he responded to an individual on Twitter by writing, “I never did a public flogging thing for this but I did apologize personally to angry/hurt people who reached out personally.” He also wrote that it was a “joke” and that “it meant something very different in my head and I regret the ableist plan reading of it!”
In December of 2020, Jennings took to Twitter to address the matter once more. In a series of tweets, he wrote that he was regretful over the “dumb things” that he previously shared on the social media platform. He wrote, in part, “Hey, I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful and insensitive things. Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen.” Jennings went on to write that he wouldn’t be deleting the tweets, as he feels as though it would be “whitewashing a mistake.”
WSL reported that due to this past controversy, he will more than likely not become the next host of Jeopardy. The outlet also reported that focus groups “didn’t react well” to Jennings. Although, it should be noted that Jeopardy has not yet shared who will become the next host. So, it’s unclear whether or not Jennings will officially be hired for the position. One thing is for sure — the next Jeopardy host will not be Richards. After the Jeopardy producer’s own past insensitive comments resurfaced, he stepped down from the position. On Aug. 31, it was announced that Richards was fired from his position as the producer of both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune amid this controversy.