It’s been almost two weeks since Sony Pictures Television announced Mike Richards as the new permanent host of Jeopardy!, and fans are still smarting over LeVar Burton being snubbed for the top job. According to the results of a new poll from Morning Consult, that backlash actually tracks because Burton was reportedly the top choice of Jeopardy! fans who were surveyed, and by a lot. In fact, Richards was towards the bottom of list, while new spinoff and primetime special host Mayim Bialik scored almost as high as Burton. Via Mediaite:
Mr. Burton was the first choice of 14 percent of all respondents, and 16 percent of self-described Jeopardy! fans, edging out Bialik, who was #1 with 13 percent of both groups.
But Mr. Richards was the #1 choice of just 3 percent of all respondents, as well as of those self-described fans.
However, while Burton has been riding high on a wave of fan support, that enthusiasm reportedly didn’t transfer over to one very important metric: ratings. Burton lagged behind the other hosts, which possibly sealed his fate when it came to getting the top job. (It also didn’t hurt that Richards was allegedly involved in the selection process, and his actual influence was recently revealed to be more than he let on.)
But the Morning Consult results do corroborate earlier reports that Bialik was actually the first pick to be the new host of Jeopardy! but declined because she couldn’t commit to the workload. It appears she was a top choice of both fans and decision-makers behind the scene.