Alex Trebek will have "no say" in "Jeopardy!" successor but has a dream pick
During a Jan. 8 interview with TVLine, Alex Trebek said he's not interested in helping choose the individual who'll succeed him as the host of "Jeopardy!" when he eventually retires: "It's not a decision that would be up to me. And I would not make myself available to presenting an opinion. I would leave it up to the people in charge," he said. Added "Jeopardy!" executive producer Harry Friedman, "[Alex] really has no interest in being involved in that process. … We would welcome his opinion, obviously, but he feels like it's really not up to him. And he has said that for a long time." The game show host did, however, share his "dream pick" for his successor: "When people ask me who I'd like to see replace me, I say, 'Well, it's probably going to be a woman, and she'll have to be bright, she'll have to have a good sense of humor.' Uh, let's see… Betty White! Betty White is my choice." The 98-year-old actress, by the way, is nearly two decades older than the current "Jeopardy!" host, who's battling pancreatic cancer.
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"Road Rules" and "Ancient Aliens" producer David Osper dies at 47
Deadline reported on Jan. 21 that David Osper — who worked on "Road Rules," "Buckwild," "True Life," "Ancient Aliens" and more — died of cancer in Los Angeles on Dec. 30. He was 47. The TV producer most recently served as the vice president of unscripted development at MTV.
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"The Witcher" breaks Netflix series viewership records — with one big catch
In a Jan. 21 letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that 76 million households watched "The Witcher" in its first month, making it the biggest debut for a new series in the streamer's history. Netflix, however, recently changed the way it counts views: Previously, a view was counted if a member account watched 70% of an episode or film. Now, a view is counted if a member account watches two minutes or more of a program — which, according to the streamer, is "long enough to indicate the choice was intentional." Explained Netflix, "This way, short and long titles are treated equally, leveling the playing field for all types of our content including interactive content, which has no fixed length." According to The Hollywood Reporter, views are up 35% under the new counting system.
Sarah Hyland responds to "Modern Family" fan asking about her lack of airtime on final season
Sarah Hyland's "Modern Family" alter ego, Hayley Dunphy, has been conspicuously absent from much of the sitcom's 11th and final season, which debuted in September 2019 and concludes in April. After a fan tweeted at the actress asking why she's been "missing from so many episodes of 'Modern Family' this season," Sarah replied on Jan. 17, "Apparently I've been busy with the twins." She then added the shrugging emoji. Haley welcomed twins with Reid Ewing's Dylan on the finale of season 10 in May 2019.
Whoopi Goldberg accepts Patrick Stewart's offer to reprise her "Star Trek" role on "Picard"
On the Jan. 22 episode of "The View," Patrick Stewart invited Whoopi Goldberg to return to the role of Guinan on the upcoming second season of "Star Trek: Picard." (The first season of the CBS All Access series debuted on Jan. 23.) "I'm here with a formal invitation. … [We] want to invite you into the second season," said the English actor. "Please say yes," he added as Whoopi gave him a big hug. "Yes," she replied, prompting the live studio audience to give her and her former co-star a standing ovation. "'Star Trek' was one of the great experiences [of my career] — from the beginning to the end. … I had the best, best, best time — best time ever," she gushed. Replied the "X-Men" franchise star, "I'm so glad to hear that. It was wonderful having you, and we can't wait to have you with us again one more time." The Oscar-winning actress portrayed the Enterprise bartender Guinan — a role specifically created for her — on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" between 1988 and 1993. She also popped up in 1994's "Star Trek Generations" and in 2002's "Star Trek Nemesis."
Sophia Bush recalls fighting "One Tree Hill" boss over "inappropriate" sexual scenes
On the Jan. 21 episode of Ashley Graham's "Pretty Big Deal" podcast, Sophia Bush revealed that she "fought a lot with the writers" over the way her "One Tree Hill" alter ego, Brooke Davis, was portrayed on the teen drama. "I was sort of unaware of the power dynamics at play, and I would just say things. I'd be like, 'I'm not doing this,'" she recalled. "There was this sort of really weird thing. … At the time, I didn't realize how inappropriate it was — but, again, this is a long time ago. I remember my boss kept writing scenes for me to be in my underwear. And I was like, 'I'm not doing this. This is inappropriate. Like, I don't think this is what we should be teaching 16-year-old girls to be doing and to be seeking validation this way.'" According to the actress, who was in her 20s at the time, her boss fired back, "Well, you're not 16." Continued Sophia, "I said, 'But I'm playing 16, and if you want somebody to do it so badly, get somebody else to do it.' And he literally said to me, 'Well, you're the one with the big f—— rack everybody wants to see.' And I was like, 'What?! Well, I'm not doing it!'" After the altercation, the starlet showed up wearing a turtleneck "just sort of to be spiteful." Added Sophia, "I was like, 'This is just how I'm gonna dress on the show from now on if you don't stop writing these scenes.' … I was really ballsy and I didn't even know it. I just wasn't wanting to perpetuate this sort of behavior that I didn't think was appropriate."
"King of Queens" actress Norma Michaels dies at 95
Character actress Norma Michaels, who portrayed Josephine on "King of Queens," died at her home in Palm Springs, California, on Jan. 18. She was 95.
Hank Azaria will no longer voice Apu on "The Simpsons"
At a Jan. 16 press conference for "Brockmire" during the TCA Winter Press Tour, Hank Azaria said that he'll no longer voice Apu — a racist caricature of Indian American culture that has become increasingly controversial in recent years — on "The Simpsons." Said the actor, "All we know there is I won't be doing the voice anymore, unless there's some way to transition it or something. … What they're going to do with the character is their call. It's up to them and they haven't sorted it out yet. All we've agreed on is I won't do the voice anymore. … We all agreed on it. We all feel like it's the right thing and [feel] good about it."