‘I’m Struggling To Keep Watching.’ Former Jeopardy! Champ Arthur Chu Discusses Why The Show Is Failing

It’s no secret that there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Jeopardy! as of late. The show has struggled to find a new host after the death of Alex Trebek and it seems that each choice has been mired in controversy. As Mike Richard steps away from the show entirely and several celebrities from Ru Paul to YouTuber Mat Pat are vying for the position, a former Jeopardy! star talked about why focusing on the host at all is the wrong way to go.

In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post, Arthur Chu, one of the biggest “villains” ever seen on the show during his 11-game stint, discussed his feelings on why the focus for the show should be on the contestants.

“At my tapings, Trebek told us that if he were ever to retire, his one piece of advice to his successor would be, ‘Stay out of the way, and let the contestants be the stars…’ The disruption of rotating hosts was jarring enough for a show built on dependability, but the whole celebrity concept betrayed the secret of how Jeopardy! captivated us: the fantasy that you or I or anyone else could be the one in the spotlight.”

Chu also discussed how fans are more focused on the backstage drama of the show than the contestants by mentioning Matt Amodio. He is currently an 18-day champion and the third-winningest regular-season contestant in the show’s history but has been completely overshadowed by potential host drama.

“When Trebek died of pancreatic cancer in November of last year, most fans expected for a replacement already to have been named and, after a bit of welcoming fanfare, for the show to return to normal as soon as possible.

Instead, Jeopardy! trampled over Trebek’s directive. The hunt for the new host became a public circus of “on-the-job tryouts” featuring a glamorous roster of A-listers, and the star of the show became the week’s celebrity guest host. Each episode, their followers tuned in to root for them, not the actual contestants.”

Chu feels the entire process is “a stain on the good name of a show we expect better from.” Still, he has hopes that the show can do better in the future. “There can still be a place for Jeopardy!, so long as it centers on the contestants again, and on its own reliability.”

With Mayim Bialik potentially not even being able to permanently host, there is no word on who will take over officially for Alex Trebek and allow the show to continue moving forward.