Like his mentor Alex Trebek before him, “Jeopardy!” legend Ken Jennings is a big a pop culture buff as they come. As such, he’s got the perfect reaction to recent reports that Amazon’s troubled “Lord of the Rings” show cost a whopping $465 million for the first season alone.
“Why didn’t they just get the eagles to dump $465 million in a volcano,” Jennings tweets Friday. His response comes after THR tweeted out confirmation that “Amazon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings is to cost $465M for just one season.”
Why? Isn’t that the only question here? No show, no matter how lavish or fantasy-centric justifies, well, throwing money away like this, as Jennings laments. To put this into perspective, all three of Peter Jackson’s original “Lord of the Rings” films cost $281 million total. To make three stellar, timeless pieces of cinema. That’s half of what Amazon has thrown at their Tolkien series for its inaugural, and deeply troubled, first run before advertising.
While Amazon is surely hoping to make close to the $2.917 billion worldwide that Jackson’s trilogy brought in, there’s absolutely no explaining this. So, as “Jeopardy!”s all-time-champ says: might as well just let the Great Eagles of Arda dump said mountains of money into Mount Doom.
For those less Tolkien-obsessed than myself and Jennings, the reference comes way of the Great Eagles from Tolkien’s Middle-earth pantheon. These enormous, majestic birds of prey most famously came to Gandalf’s aid several times overseen both in the Hobbit and LOTR trilogies.
A long-running debate amongst denizens of the internet questions “why the eagles didn’t just fly Frodo and the One Ring straight to Mount Doom…” But I’m not opening that can of worms. I’ll leave that to Ken on Twitter. Yikes.
Will ‘Jeopardy!’ Name Ken Jennings the Next Permanent Host Already?
Honestly, Friday’s tweet is just the latest, perfect example of why Ken Jennings needs to take over “Jeopardy!”s hosting reigns from his late mentor. Like Trebek before him, Jennings is an everyman: a genius, yes, but a relatable, down-to-earth one – just like Alex.
Trebek himself even believed this “middlebrow” appeal was key to the show’s longevity – and success. In a 1997 interview with USA TODAY we recently covered here on Outsider, Trebek spoke directly to claims that the show was below the intellectual standards it should hold itself to. For the beloved host, however, claiming “Jeopardy!” to be “middlebrow” was far from an insult. In fact, this was as ridiculous-sounding to him as it is to this author typing it out.
“Middlebrow is a good thing,” the late host famously told the trade. “We don’t want to get so esoteric that the viewers can’t relate to the material.”
Truer words on “Jeopardy!” have never been spoken. And if there’s an everyman to continue this legacy, producers *cough* Mike Richards *cough* need look no further than their reigning champ, Ken Jennings, as Trebek’s true successor.