When much-loved host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer last year, the producers of Jeopardy initiated an extensive search for a new host worthy of helming the revered game show.
The contestants for the slot read like a who’s who of entertainment celebrities: everyone from Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper to LeVar Burton and Robin Roberts to all-time Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings.
And the surprise winner…Mike Richards, the executive producer who ran the search. Uh–who?
Choosing yourself for a role is a little unconventional–especially when you made such a spectacle of the succession process. As it turned out, it didn’t last. After reports of previous misogynist, anti-Semitic, and racist comments, Richards stepped down this week–not just from hosting Jeopardy, but also as the executive producer of both Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. So the search starts all over again.
We can ask what was Richards thinking, but this happens on a regular basis in less star-studded situations. Employees are told they have input into a decision–only to have senior management unilaterally impose their own option. Customers are told they have a choice of product offerings from a supplier–but when it comes down to it, there’s really only one viable option. Take it or leave it.
Consumers are savvy enough to know when they’ve been duped–and they don’t like it one bit. Better to be clear up front that you’ve made a decision than to pretend the issue is still up for discussion.
Which brings us to a great question for next season’s program…
The clue: Mike Richards
The question: Who is a great example of how not to treat your customers.
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