‘Jeopardy’ Fans Outraged, Accuse Show of Vaccine Propaganda

in Television

Jeopardy and Ken Jennings with a vaccine needle

Credit: Inside the Magic

The beloved quiz show Jeopardy has had more than its fair share of controversy of late, and now the program has just leaped into yet another: COVID-19 vaccine propaganda.

In the last three years, Jeopardy has weathered a huge number of issues, beginning with the sad passing of longtime host and television icon Alex Trebek in 2020 due to pancreatic cancer. The loss of Trebek kicked off a whole series of events that outraged fans, including an extensive series of guest hosts like Dr. Oz, pro football player Aaron Rodgers, and producer Mike Richards.

Alex Trebek Jeopardy! host
Credit: ABC

Related: Mayim Bialik Loses Job, Ken Jennings Takes Full Control of ‘Jeopardy’

Those fans were even more outraged when Sony Pictures Television and Jeopardy Productions announced that Mike Richards, a little-known TV figure with no significant experience, would be the new permanent host of the show.

Mike Richards stepped down after a single taping session of episodes amidst allegations of workplace misconduct and the resurfacing of controversial podcast statements.

‘Jeopardy’ Co-Host Controversy

At that point, legendary champion Ken Jennings and actress Mayim Bialik were brought in as co-hosts, splitting hosting duties between the classic edition of the show, Celebrity Jeopardy, various tournaments, and the Second Chance version.

Ken Jennings (L) and Mayim Bialik (R) on the 'Jeopardy!' set
Credit: NBC

Of course, the controversies did not stop there. Mayim Bialik regularly angered fans with her on-screen enthusiasm (which producers had to at one point coach her over), accusations that she changed the rules of the game mid-play and a general sentiment that she did not fit the tone of the show.

On the other hand, her co-host, Ken Jennings, has done little better. The former champion has been called out for off-color jokes on social media, angrily sparring with Jeopardy fans online, and not stepping away from hosting duties during the recent Writers Guild of America strike as did Bialik.

Now, Jeopardy has a whole new issue, as it has been accused of promoting paid information about the new COVID-19 vaccine.

Ken Jennings hosting Jeopardy!
Credit: NBC

‘Jeopardy’ and the Vaccine

In a recent episode of Jeopardy Second Chance, contestants were asked the Final Jeopardy clue: “A 1953 article by this pair says, ‘The specific pairing we have postulated… suggests a… copying mechanism for the genetic material.” All three contestants correctly answered the American biologist James Watson and English physicist Francis Crick.

Related: ‘Jeopardy!’ Officially Rebooted With New Host, First Look Photos Emerge

However, the controversy began shortly after at the conclusion of Jeopardy with an announcement that the episode had been sponsored by Moderna, the pharmaceutical giant behind a prominent COVID-19 vaccine. A post-credits message encouraged viewers to remain updated on coronavirus developments and to get vaccinated this fall.

The backlash from a strongly-voiced contingent of fans was almost immediate, with people posting on social media comments like, “I haven’t watched TV in a long time. Jeopardy is now sponsored by Moderna, and running multiple Covid ads during the broadcast. Anybody who watches TV and relies on it for their information is doomed.”

Others chimed in, saying that Jeopardy producers and Ken Jennings should be ashamed.

At this point, it does not seem like Jeopardy will ever be able to pull itself out of controversy, even if the show weathers the vaccine issue.

Do you think it was unethical for Jeopardy to be sponsored by Moderna? Let us know in the comments below!

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