Seriously, was LeVar Burton not available?
Dr. Mehmet Oz begins his “Jeopardy!” guest host run on Monday, but his involvement comes with a significant amount of backlash. Writer Rebecca Watson tweeted a fun photo of LeVar Burton with the caption, “Me seeing Levar Burton trending because people are rightfully dragging @Jeopardy for having the dangerous quack Dr. Oz host instead of one of the smartest and most wholesome men to ever grace our televisions.”
That about sums it up.
While the announcement of his hosting duties isn’t new, the initial news generated a lot of criticism from both longtime contestants and social media. And when the official Jeopardy! account posted to announce the commencement of Oz’s run, the reactions weren’t very different from a few months ago.
“Alex Trebek’s final episodes gave us a moving, frank look at a real-life health crisis, endured with grace and no little difficulty. These were challenging and honest. Dr. Oz, by contrast, has suggested that drinking green tea with turmeric can prevent pancreatic cancer,” tweeted Variety tv critic Daniel D’Addario.
“Were any of the millions of physicians who *didn’t* promote harmful policy on FNC not available?” asked NFL network host Patrick Claybon.
Dr. Oz has been controversial for years due to his false medical claims and pseudoscience. But when COVID-19 began wreaking havoc on the world, he became a regular fixture on Fox News and used his celebrity status to double down on debunking science and mask wearing. He also actively spent time promoting Trump solutions like drinking hydroxychloroquine, personally contributing to the many false narratives surrounding the early days of COVID that undoubtably led to a more serious pandemic that we’re still trying to fight our way out of.
Basically, putting him on the stage of a game show that celebrates not only science but knowledge and truth seems like a pretty big misfire.
And yes, we know that ratings are a thing, and that Oz’s ratings for his own show definitely increased after his Fox News appearances. “Jeopardy!” producers are probably well aware of this and banking on him to bring in some numbers, knowing his controversial slant. Still, there are dozens of respectable hosts and personalities who could have been tapped to briefly fill Trebek’s shoes that are far less polarizing.
Like…you know…maybe LeVar Burton?
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