Disney+ reaches new subscriber highs, ‘Jeopardy!’ faces new host debacle

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Disney+ now has 116 million subscribers. The incredible growth is driven by movies like Pixar’s “Luca,” which was only available on Disney+. Photo by Disney/Pixar

In a recent earnings call, Disney reported its streaming service now has 116 million subscribers, a number above what most analysts were predicting. The most popular things to watch on Disney+ included the Pixar movie “Luca,” the superhero series “Loki” and a live-action version of “Cruella.”

The growth of Disney+ is especially notable compared to Netflix, where subscriber numbers have somewhat stagnated, and the streamer actually lost U.S. viewers last quarter. 

The Disney parks are also bringing in money again, now that they’ve all reopened and vaccine availability has made it possible for some families to travel again. 

Even though Disney is embroiled in a public PR battle over a lawsuit filed by Scarlett Johansson, with some big names in Hollywood taking the side of the actress, Wall Street was thrilled with the company’s most recent earnings report. Disney shares were up more than 5% after the new subscriber numbers were announced. 

In other news, some “Jeopardy!” fans anticipating the announcement of a new host are finding there’s not much to celebrate in the final pick. 

Following the death of the iconic Alex Trebek, “Jeopardy!” featured a series of high-profile guest hosts. But the job of new host ultimately went to Mike Richards, the executive producer of the game show. 

There was an immediate backlash online — many fans are upset that someone like LeVar Burton wasn’t picked instead. And Richards has some red flags in his past — he was named in three discrimation lawsuits about a decade ago, filed by employees from “The Price is Right,” where Richards used to work. 

Former “Jeopardy!” champion Andrew Baggardly tweeted about the situation, calling it “disgraceful.” 

“Jeopardy!” is an important asset for Sony Pictures Television. The show brings in millions of dollars every year and helps keep the studio afloat in lean years, so the choice of new host is an important one.  

However, most “Jeopardy!” watchers are older and more conservative than the fans who are expressing outrage online, so Sony likely feels it can ride out the situation. 

The studio also announced Mayim Bialak as co-host, but in reality, she’ll only be hosting a few primetime specials. Richards will be the main host, but adding Bialak’s name to the announcement seemed to be a way to muddy the waters.

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Host:

Kim Masters

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Kaitlin Parker