Really, Sony? Are you going to replay that charade of picking a successor to late Jeopardy host Alex Trebek?
After auditioning 16 actors, broadcast journalists, TV personalities and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers over seven months, a process that generated positive PR for Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company crowned executive producer Mike Richards as host of the venerable TV game show. Was the fix in?
As a consolation prize, it picked neuroscientist and Big Bang actress Mayim Bailik to host Jeopardy prime-time specials and spin-offs.
By selecting insider Richards, who barely moved the needle during his tryout, Sony flushed all of the good vibes that it earned during the auditions down the drain.
Richards did as poorly as Joe Buck, Dr. Oz and George Stephanopoulos, Sanjay Gupta and Rogers.
Sony snubbed fan favorites: actor LaVar Burton, who has long expressed a desire to host the show; Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen; former "CBS Evening News" and "Today" anchor Katie Couric; and Bailik. Any one of them would have been a worthy replacement for Trebek.
Richards on Aug. 20 withdrew from any hosting duties after it was revealed that he made sexist and offensive comments on a podcast several years ago.
That gave Sony an opportunity to redeem itself by awarding Bialik permanent hosting duties and putting the whole mess behind it.
Instead, Sony decided to plod on. It announced Bailik will host the next 15 episodes of the weeknight show, while it resumes the search for a new host.
Sony has got to be kidding. Fool us once, shame on us. Fool us twice, shame on Sony.
Note to Sony: though the sainted Trebek was loved by millions of fans, you are not exactly searching for a successor to the Pope. It's a game show. Make Bailik the new host and move on.
Who’s got the toughest job in PR? My pick is John DeFries, president/CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority as the Aloha State is warning people not to visit through October due to a surge in COVID-19 that is overburdening the healthcare system.
Hawaii governor David Inge said on Aug. 23: “Our hospitals are reaching capacity and our ICUs are filling up. Now is not a good time to travel to Hawaii.”
Hawaii tourism was showing a sharp rebound from 2020. The state reported a 121.7 percent jump to $368 in average daily rate and a 60.1 percent jump in occupancy rates to 82.4 percent from July 2020 when a quarantine order for travelers was in effect.
In releasing those upbeat numbers, DeFries warned that tourism during the fall shoulder season could suffer due to the rise in the Delta variant.
He was right on target.
Facebook continues to shoot itself in the foot. While CEO Mark Zuckerberg boasts about the 18M pieces of misinformation/disinformation that he claims have been removed from the site, the platform killed a report that showed its most-viewed link to a news article with a headline that the COVID-19 vaccine killed a doctor in Florida. Talk about spreading junk information.
Facebook decided not to release the report after Alex Schultz, VP of analytics and chief marketing officer, worried that it would create a PR problem.
Facebook has a PR and a transparency problem that government regulators may be required to fix.