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Jeopardy! needed Matt Amodio's success to wash away the bad headlines over its disastrous hosting search

  • "Regardless of what some fans think of his quirky answering style, he’s already done something far more important in the immediate sense as he continues to cruise through Season 38 of Jeopardy!: make everyone focus on the games, not the drama around the show’s disastrous search for a new host," says Ryan Nagelhout of Amodio, who joined Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer in the million-dollar earnings club last Friday. "Aside from Amodio’s brilliance, recent news about the show has been nothing short of exhausting. Mike Richards was a bad pick to replace Alex Trebek, may have rigged the search that landed on him in the first place, and made decision-makers at Sony look bad for thinking his extensive baggage wouldn’t matter to the show’s biggest fans. Every other person seemingly in the running has had a bad news cycle or two, to boot. Even the groundswell of support for a guest host like LeVar Burton got tiring. It didn’t help that, for a variety of reasons, he simply wasn’t very good at the job. Burton knew it and said it himself, but it didn’t seem to matter to those crusading for him to get a job he now has repeatedly said he doesn’t want." As Trebek has said repeatedly, the contestants are the true stars of Jeopardy! -- not the host. "The loss of that guidance has been notable since Trebek’s death in November but so, too, is the obvious change in what’s become important when watching the show," says Nagelhout. "Turning the end of last season into a proverbial bake-off made what the hosts were doing on stage much more important than how contestants played or who could survive wave after wave of hosting change. It absolutely impacted the game, too."

    TOPICS: Matt Amodio, Jeopardy!, Game Shows