"Jeopardy!" Fans Are Boycotting the Show Because of This Guest Host
Fans and former contestants are not happy to see Dr. Oz filling Alex Trebek's shoes.
Following Alex Trebek's death in November 2020 (and the game show airing the rest of his already-filmed episode through the rest of the year), Jeopardy! has been hosted by a series of guest hosts as the search for a permanent replacement continues. And while some of the temporary hosts have gone over well with fans, the latest Jeopardy! guest host has some viewers calling for a boycott of the long-running game show.
On Monday, Mar. 22, Mehmet Oz, MD, better known as Dr. Oz, took over guest hosting duties. Oz rose to television fame by appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the early '00s and has had his own show, The Dr. Oz Show, since 2009.
Oz is a controversial figure due to the medical practices he suggests on his show, and more recently, his comments on COVID-19. Read on to see what Jeopardy! fans and former contestants have to say about Oz hosting the show. And for more on the iconic game show, check out This Is What Alex Trebek Wanted for His Last "Jeopardy!" Episode.
Fans are calling for a Jeopardy! boycott.
When the Jeopardy! Twitter account posted about Oz's first episode, it received numerous replies from fans who say that they will not be watching while he is on the show. "Avid Jeopardy watcher and am definitely skipping this stint," wrote one fan. Many others referred to Oz as "a snake oil salesman" and "charlatan."
"Not cool, having this snake oil salesman hosting a show about facts and science," one viewer tweeted.
For more on the quiz show, check out The One Type of "Jeopardy!" Contestant Alex Trebek Hated the Most.
The backlash began as soon as Oz was announced.
While fans are just now seeing Oz on the show, he was announced as a guest host in February. At this time, hundreds of former Jeopardy! contestants spoke out against the decision. Over 500 contestants signed an open letter published on Medium titled "A Letter from Concerned Former Contestants to Mike Richards, Executive Producer of Jeopardy!"
The letter reads in part, "Dr. Oz stands in opposition to everything that Jeopardy! stands for. Jeopardy! is a show that values facts and knowledge. Throughout his nearly two decades on television he has used his authority as a doctor to push harmful ideas onto the American public, in stark contrast with his oath to first do no harm."
The letter also calls Oz's ideas "dangerous" and says his guest host position is "a slap in the face to all involved."
Jeopardy! producers have not responded publicly to the letter or to the calls for a boycott.
Read more about talk show backlash in The Ellen DeGeneres Controversy Is Impacting Her Show in This Drastic Way.
Oz's medical advice has been criticized by many over the years.
Oz, his show, and his practices have been heavily criticized. In 2014, the British Medical Journal published a study that reported that half of his medical advice was incorrect or baseless, as reported by the Washington Post. In 2015, ten doctors from across the country requested that Oz be removed from the staff of the Columbia University Medical Center. In response, he said in a message on his show that the doctors were attempting to silence him and take away his freedom of speech. He also thought that he was being targeted for questioning genetically modified food, according to CBS News.
More recently, in 2018, former president Donald Trump named Oz to his council on sport, fitness, and nutrition. Like Trump, Oz promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine to fight COVID-19 early on in the pandemic, even though it was not widely studied as a medication for the virus at that point. The National Institutes on Health later said that "researchers concluded that the medication hydroxychloroquine provides no benefit to adults hospitalized with COVID-19."
Further, Oz made headlines for what he said about schools reopening during an appearance on Fox News in April 2020. "Schools are a very appetizing opportunity," he said in reference to aspects of daily life that could reopen because doing so "may only cost us 2 to 3 percent in terms of total mortality." Oz later said he "misspoke".
Oz has defended himself and his advice over the years. As reported by NBC News, when he appeared at a Senate hearing about advertisements for fraudulent diets in 2014, he said, "I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show. I recognize that oftentimes they don't have the scientific muster to pass as fact. I have given my family these products."
For recent news on the pandemic, read These 10 States Are Seeing the Worst COVID Spikes Right Now.
Oz will be succeeded by guest hosts from all different realms of news and entertainment.
Oz's guest hosting stint is set to last from Mar. 22 to Apr. 2. He will be followed by NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie, actor and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker, and CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD.
Richards, the executive producer named in the open letter, hosted a series of episodes himself and told USA Today in February that he expects the announcement of a new permanent host to come toward the end of the current season or in the summer.
For more on who the next Jeopardy! host could be, check out This Is Who Fans Want to Succeed Alex Trebek as Host of "Jeopardy!"