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Author Topic: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid  (Read 4313 times)

steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2024, 10:46:08 PM »
Mike was let go because Sony was afraid of the backlash and because they were caught with their pants down since they never asked about the existence of anything before their new management, seeking efficiencies, gave him three jobs for the salary of one and three quarters people.  The executive who was that oblivious is still there earning a seven figure salary. 

The theoretical toxic work environment you allege was at worst in the minds of leftover Harry loyalists clinging to the past, not willing to accept anyone else but needing work.  The exact same things happened at Price.  Yet Sony still hired Mike.  Until it became toxic for them—not their staff.

Unless you were actually in these rooms seeing this unfold, or are personal friends with those impacted, I suggest you reserve your own biases as potentially immaterial to all of this


Jeremy Nelson

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2024, 11:24:00 PM »
For another, she used HER filter for what she considered “sexist”.  I’m sorry, but I personally knew many of the WOMEN who participated in the production and were still on his team years later. They never had any problem with anything said or done, because at the end of the day they weee treated quite well both professionally and personally.
I'm black, and I work for a company that pays its employees rather well and has minimal turnover; it's a joke around here that you're still "new" until you've hit your ten year mark.

That said, when people say or do questionable things towards black people, there's very few, if any, white people that I would discuss those incidents with. Most incidents are shared among black employees, unless they're serious enough to warrant a visit to HR.

All that to say- I have a very hard time believing that women in the workplace are being completely honest with you about their experience working under other white men, especially in your prime working years. To them, you might as well be a police plant.
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steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2024, 03:12:41 AM »
Jeremy, I have no idea who employs you, and if that’s your experience I’m truly sorry.  No one deserves that sort of treatment.

But I can speak to the Sony I worked for.  It is true to the Japanese concept of Kenko, which embraces the principles of balance and inclusion more than any other company I’ve ever had any association with.  My colleagues were diverse in background, age and beliefs.  I reported willingly to execs and peers who ran the DEI gauntlet.  Our P and O team (our HR) was exemplary of such breadth.  Open dialogue was encouraged, and the people I speak of were my neighbors.  Back in those pre-Earth cooling days where the letters WFH only turned up on a budget-protective Blockbusters gold run board.

Plus Mr. Richards was three doors down from me.  I saw almost every person he interacted with.  I saw the demeanor of the team he was surrounded by every day.  And as a survivor of Fox believe me when I tell you I have seen the other side of the coin with shocking detail and behaviors that made even me cringe.  So I know what a toxic environment is when I see it, since I personally endured plenty.

I can’t swear in a stack of bibles that his team was 110 per cent on board.  I can’t speak for what supposedly happened at Fremantle.  But I can categorically say what was alleged at Sony was nothing like what Claire McNear reported on, based her biased and aggressive reporting that failed to extend to the actual executives who vetted his hiring. 

Pure and simple, the man lost the job he was eminently qualified for via a series of executive missteps that offered him his dream as a way to save millions, drew the wrath of internet trolls who couldn’t accept a Star Trek and Reading Rainbow star who desperately wanted to be a host truly sucked when given the chance and then when it blew up panicked and threw him AND HIS TEAM under the bus to save face. 

I’d really love to see Ms. McNear turn her attention to the executive who orchestrated this mess who had plenty of his own skeletons.  Who blew out the staff of his far more capable predescessors who is now head honcho at a major competitor.  Who did create a true toxic work environment at a previous company I worked with him at.

If she’s so hell bent on destroying people’s careers, perhaps she can turn her tenacity toward someone deserving of it.






tyshaun1

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2024, 07:09:32 AM »
Pure and simple, the man lost the job he was eminently qualified for via a series of executive missteps that offered him his dream as a way to save millions, drew the wrath of internet trolls who couldn’t accept a Star Trek and Reading Rainbow star who desperately wanted to be a host truly sucked when given the chance and then when it blew up panicked and threw him AND HIS TEAM under the bus to save face. 
The fact that you've decried this situation as being "woke" (pointed out correctly by Brandon as being misused) and then have proceeded to blame LeVar Burton twice in your defense speaks more to you and your beliefs more than any reasoning you have come up with. Just saying.

steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2024, 09:43:09 AM »
Perhaps I did misuse the term woke and for that I offer sincere apologies.

My dislike—and for that matter, the research groups who viewed Levar’s episodes objectively—are based on his inabilities, not any other demographic or ethnic quality.

Any insinuation on your part that I harbor any such beliefs would be completely incorrect on anyone’s part.

I am merely sharing what prompted the feckless Sony executives to take the actions they did.  Those are absolute facts.  A man’s career was upended not because of what he allegedly created with his team, but the online hatred being spewed at him both for his choice as emcee over someone who was favored for reasons besides his abilities and the abject fear of losing an $80 million annual cash cow for a struggling TV division seeing primetime show after show being cancelled due to consolidation and underperformance would be in, well, Jeopardy if Richards wasn’t made a sacrificial lamb to stop the noise.

Just sayin’

Steve Gavazzi

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2024, 01:53:55 PM »
Those are absolute facts.

I don't think you're in a position to declare what is or isn't an "absolute fact" when you can't even accurately describe the public's reaction to Mike Richards getting the hosting gig (which, remember, was basically, "Who the hell is Mike Richards?").

Just sayin’

Maybe you shouldn't.

Jeremy Nelson

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2024, 04:05:56 PM »
Pure and simple, the man lost the job he was eminently qualified for via a series of executive missteps that offered him his dream as a way to save millions
He's qualified in the same way that a golfer barely makes a tour cut. Are you qualified to do it? Sure, but there's a cadre of better people ahead of you.

If execs took Mike's constant desire to host things as an indication that he should host Jeopardy, then they also had no idea of what fans' expectations of a Jeopardy host were. The problem is Mike knew better, and he should have been the first to understand that weathering that kind of conflict of interest would be a problem. They all deserve the debacle they created for themselves.
Fact To Make You Feel Old: Just about every contestant who appears in a Price is Right Teen Week episode from here on out has only known a world where Drew Carey has been the host.

snowpeck

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2024, 04:38:37 PM »
It's not that he wasn't qualified to host, it's that being named executive producer and then ostensibly naming himself as host (yes it was much more complex than that, but the general public would never have seen it that way) was a very bad look for the show. McNear took that and ran with it.
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steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2024, 05:57:25 PM »
Actually, Mr. Gavazzi, unless you’ve actually held the same positions with the same companies and worked in the same hallways and boardrooms with the players in this drama, I am eminently more qualified than you are to offer my views.  I’d love to see your CV.  I suspect it’s impressive for your career.  I wish you could somehow afford me some respect.

And sadly sir it is you who appears to be placing your filter on the public reaction.  I saw the actual test results.  I was eminently familiar with how poorly the test groups were conducted.  They actually favored Mayim since there was no filter for people reacting to HER rather than her character on Big Bang.  She tested well based on the misguided perception that she would be hosting as Mrs. Cooper and that the cast would show up in cameos.  Research groups can produce some alarming misperceptions.  Not just limited to politics.

Mike actually tested well despite his relative obscurity.  He was recognized by a plurality (not a majority) from his on air work on GSN.  He was perceived most frequently as competent, occasionally empathic and calming. As I recall, similar reactions were given to Trebek when his pilots were tested decades earlier.  Was he a home run?  Hell no. But he tested far far better than Mr. Burton.  And the myth that Mike “stacked” the episode choices to benefit him?  Let’s simply say that one of the areas the team involved got right was to take the choice of available episodes out of his hands.

Incidentally…the fact he was an executive producer mattered little to those judging his performance.  Some more knowledgeable respondents knew plenty of talents also produced, specifically Dick Clark and Merv Griffin.  The online backlash and concern was much greater.  But even you should realize that online opinions are much like talk radio.  Only the minority that care more than most of take the trouble to react.  No intelligent conclusive research can be determined from internet posters.  What a shame the Sony executives didn’t put more stock in that reality check.

I think we’ve all hijacked this discussion more than it should be. I suspect not even sworn testimony would sway you from what you perceive to be the facts.  And you seem to be quite happy with the fact that a man’s life was ruined—and believe me sir, it isn’t always about the money—by the emotional and biased reactions a clickbait-obsessed champion of women’s “rights” who used Reddit as her primary resource caused. 

As I’ve said, she clearly has the ability to identify who really is responsible for all of this, yet she stands by her work defiantly despite her assumptions that the women involved really were that angry. 
And yet-somehow the show is thriving better than ever, and none of us have stopped watching, have we?
So Sony wins.
Yay
Have a nice day






Steve Gavazzi

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2024, 07:37:25 PM »
And sadly sir it is you who appears to be placing your filter on the public reaction.

"Placing my filter on public reactions?"  I'm not even sure what that means.  It seems like you're mad that I'm forming my opinions based on publicly-available data, and if that's the case...well, what the hell else would I base it on?  Data I haven't seen?

Mike actually tested well despite his relative obscurity.  He was recognized by a plurality (not a majority) from his on air work on GSN.

You're going to need to provide some context here.  You can't have a plurality when there are only two options ("I recognized him" and "I didn't recognize him").  Are you saying that there were other places (Beauty and the Geek, maybe?) that other people recognized him from?  And if there were, did there end up being more people who did recognize him than people who didn't?  (EDIT:  Actually, this is probably a bad question -- if "Yes, from Source A" got the most votes, "No" would obviously need to have gotten fewer.  That said, I still feel like we're missing something here -- the original quote doesn't make complete sense in a vacuum.)

And also...

I was eminently familiar with how poorly the test groups were conducted.

If that's the case, why are you invoking it?  It doesn't make sense to criticize me for ignoring the testing at the same time you're ridiculing the testing.  You can't have it both ways.

She tested well based on the misguided perception that she would be hosting as Mrs. Cooper and that the cast would show up in cameos.

This is germane only because you don't appear to think highly of women having opinions, but I don't believe Amy was ever referred to as "Mrs. Cooper" after she married Sheldon, except maybe as a formality.  There doesn't seem to be any in-canon evidence that she changed her last name, and I'm pretty sure she kept being referred to professionally as "Dr. Fowler."

And yet-somehow the show is thriving better than ever, and none of us have stopped watching, have we?

Yes, the show is doing well without Mike Richards and his baggage.  What would cause you to think that reinforces your point?

I’d really love to see Ms. McNear turn her attention to the executive who orchestrated this mess who had plenty of his own skeletons.  Who blew out the staff of his far more capable predescessors who is now head honcho at a major competitor.  Who did create a true toxic work environment at a previous company I worked with him at.

Why don't you bring this person to her attention?

(I strongly suspect that the answer is "Because I'm not actually concerned with holding people to account.")

I wish you could somehow afford me some respect.

I'm sure you do, yes.  If you begin saying things that merit it, I will consider doing so.  Right now, though...

yet she stands by her work defiantly despite her assumptions that the women involved really were that angry [and my assumptions that they were lying].

...we aren't anywhere near that point.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2024, 01:15:45 AM by Steve Gavazzi »

Otm Shank

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2024, 04:07:31 AM »
I'm going to say that I respect some of the insight that steveleb has offered in this thread, and at least backs up his assertions. Haven't changed my mind to match up with his opinions on the matter, but it did give me a broader perspective to soften some of my stance a little.

I don't think that we need to convert people so this board has a hivemind, and while the temperature has risen in this thread to some extent, I have found it enlightening.

I understand that the way it ultimately went down was a pretty shitty way to lose one's livelihood in a very narrow industry. On the other hand, I am a firm believer that what we put out into the universe is what comes back to us. And when it was announced that Mike was "stepping down" (which we all knew what that meant), to me it felt like karma caught up with him. And, yes, there is a bit of irony that his long tenured predecessor as executive producer was a pretty slippery individual himself, and yet he would smile, recite his pet population PSA, and the people adored him.

Mike put his stamp on things on TPIR; a few things made sense -- twentysomethings aren't interested in furnishing their flat with floor clocks and Welch hutches -- but I just lost interest. When the show kept up the legacy of wrongful termination lawsuits and the other things that spilled out into the public, it just soured me even more.

When Mike was announced as EP at Sony, I had a bad feeling that he was going to bring (what I perceived) his bad management style and wreck another vaunted game show institution. I also felt uneasy that he appeared to be the stalking horse to take the baton from Trebek, which eventually proved itself out. Now, I wasn't there, wasn't privy to everything that transpired, but as a former huge fan of TPIR, the announcement that he found himself to be the best possible host reinforced those earlier perceptions.

I can see your point that the Ringer article was a hit job, but on the other hand, karma was able to catch up to him. He didn't have the charisma of the W.G.M.C. to have the public shrug it off. And, speaking for myself, Sony executives came off terribly in that article, because how in the hell did they not vet him better than that. The stupid podcast, that's not it. It was just a way to encapsulate his persona from the TPIR set for the general public. Dick Clark helped him get the Fremantle job, and I don't know who (if anyone) paved the path to Sony. But they did not do their due diligence in hiring him, especially if it was going to end this way.

I'm sure that Mike is a nice guy to be around to many, and he may have gotten a raw deal the way it played out. But I really feel that Sony fumbled the ball through the end zone on multiple possessions from Harry's departure through Trebek's replacement. And the fallout article at least felt like it righted a wrong.

At the same time, high respect for the difference of opinion.

chris319

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2024, 04:29:22 AM »
How many lawsuits was Mike a defendant in during his tenure at TPIR?

steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2024, 06:17:14 AM »
Thank you, OTM, for saving me some of the vitriol that welled up in attempting to defend my own lengthy career and deep experience to someone who likely never set foot in any media company, professional research setting or dealt for decades with far more competent and far less personally motivated "journalists" than Claire McNear.   But we now live in a world where our own "realities" supercede facts, so perhaps it was completely foolish for me to expect anyone would be capable of understanding my perspective.

Mr. G did want context, so here goes, at the risk of further personal embarassment (and a skill set I freely admit I don't have is the ability to cut and paste pieces of a previous post to make it stand out, so forgive this potential run-on ramble if possible):

Yes, Sony fumbled the ball in MANY ways.  Especially in not doing full due diligence on someone's past.  And having had personal experience with the particular executive who championed Mike's hiring, and knowing the skeletons in this person's closet, it's not surprising this exploded the way it did.  This all said--people are responsible for BUSINESS decisions, not morality codes.  There is literally nothing else that matters than hiring the MOST COMPETENT person capable of doing a job if one actually wants to succeed in an ultra-competitive, ever-changing world.  At least, that's the way it was for decades where media companies actually grew, before a generation of social media-conditioned whiners, snarkers and second-guessers decided to hold people accountable to the level of personal destruction if somehow their perception of what is "decent" behavior was somehow violated.  The fact that so many talented executives have been forced to leave when these situations arise because of the overwhelming corporate fear of "perception" is directly tied to why so many companies have lost billions and fired thousands, many of whom are far closer to me than Mike Richards ever was or will be.  Names none of you would ever know, or probably even care about.    And more often than not replaced by DEI-driven choices who were far less competent and successful and cost even more personal one-time friends their jobs and livelihoods.

As to some of the specifics I've yet to be able to move the needle on despite my feeble attempt to educate:

-- I would not expect anyone to have had prior knowledge of the details of the research conducted, but I would hope there might have been an understanding of how much it factored into to many of the decisions that were reached. 

-- Qualitative research is not as cut-and-dry as "is he recognized or not", even though results are often grouped to make more summative, executive-friendly narratives.  Specific to Richards, more recognized him from the spate of appearances and interviews he did surrounding Trebek's passing than "Beauty and the Geek", although that show (and, shockingly, even THE PYRAMID, came up in discussions). 

-- The nit-picking on Amy Farrah Fowler's name was based on a respondent's comment in a focus group and, sorry, often people say things in those situations that don't jibe with actual facts.  Anyone who is even familiar with qualitative research likely knows the overriding catch phrase is "there are no right or wrong answers", so feel free to save any disgust for someone not realizing she was never referenced as Mrs. Cooper for that respondent.

-- I believe I specifically said that SOME of the methodological decisions regarding the research were strong.  (I was consulted by someone who was deeply involved in this project, but I was not employed by Sony when it was conducted).  MOST fell short of the standards I chose to employ during the ones I conducted.  Had better guardrails been employed by those who were calling the shots, perhaps less fallout might have occurred.  But that's admittedly 20-20 hindsight that equates to yelling at clouds, so it's ultimately water under the bridge.

My own personal context:  Women with an agenda played a significant role in bringing down my own career, although I never dealt with the allegations Mike did.  The toxicity of the work environment I operated in, including the personal behavior of several female executives I worked with, was far more destructive to those involved than anything I personally observed with Mike's Sony team.  And anyone who seems to believe that some women actually don't mind the kind of humor and "locker room mentality" that seemed to grind Claire McNear's gears so dramatically is perhaps quite naive.  I'm truly amazed that revisionist history has seemingly revoked that reality.  And I can personally share that some women are now motivated and emboldened by financial opportunities to take full advantage of a culture that seems to find a way to reward someone making allegations from decades ago. 

Again, I never worked with Mike at Fremantle.  I'd be curious if Mr. Lemon, who I understand has a history with the company, is personally aware of the details regarding those incidents from some of his former colleagues.   I'd be most concerned with the track record and the consistency of those who brought the charges against him.  Again--I'm not so blind that I would consider him a choir boy.  He wasn't the first, and he won't be the last, who has perhaps done something he regretted. (As someone pointed out, he wasn't the first Fremantle executive to be so accused). But as I have no idea as to the history and motivation of those who made the allegations against him, nor certainly the details, it would be foolish for anyone to convict someone in the court of public opinion.    And if settlements were reached with those involved, then legally it would be considered a closed case, wouldn't it? 

As for the esteemed Ms. McNear, champion of justice and fair play, I did attempt to reach out to her with the name and the details of the executive I felt was most responsible for these missteps, but unsurprisingly I was completely ignored.  Because, I suppose, trolls on Reddit are more credible than I, or perhaps the fact this person continues to have a high position at a major studio there was apprehension about taking him on.  And she's not the first "journalist" who would treat those in power with kid gloves.  For those interested, several recent articles have arisen about one Matthew Belloni and his PUCK website where he regularly convenes with A list executives and often plants their versions of articles within his feed.  Interestingly, he and Claire McNear share a corporate connection.  Just sayin'.

What I do know is this.  If someone apologizes and is contrite about their past, so long as actual physical violence was not committed, they deserve a chance to continue to live and exist.  Period. 

And until your livelihood and those of people you used to consider friends are directly involved, perhaps it's most ridiculous that I would expect anyone here to actually grasp any of these realities.

Again, I feel that this has turned into far too deep a "discussion" and debate in a forum that initially started out to be how someone saved an art card from more than 40 years ago.  I deeply apologize for anyone who's been offended by this, and strongly suggest anyone who still wants to continue this find a way to contact me personally offline.


Flerbert419

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2024, 06:31:07 AM »
How many lawsuits was Mike a defendant in during his tenure at TPIR?

I'm not sure if this is an actual question or just pointing out that it happened, but there were 3 model lawsuits he faced while with TPIR.

My own personal context:  Women with an agenda played a significant role in bringing down my own career, although I never dealt with the allegations Mike did.

I appreciate the insight you've shared in this thread but this quote provides the lens I needed to understand why you've interacted with others the way you have in this conversation.

steveleb

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Re: The Top of the $20,000 Pyramid's Pyramid
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2024, 10:11:08 AM »
Curious what the verdicts ultimately were on those lawsuits…or if settlements were reached.

Sometimes women—and even some men—seize the opportunity to make allegations that may not necessarily be true.

For the record, I’ve never been so accused, nor do I have the capacity to be.  My undoing came as the result of my competency and the exceptionally petty jealousy of female executives determined to reinvent my company and pissed beyond belief that a man and a fan was gaining respect and delivering desired results. They subsequently defended and even rehired Mr. Richards as talent because, and I quote, “he’s so damn cute” and indeed took their wrath on me out on another person who lost income as a result of their “preferences”.   Anyone remember the network’s execution of a show called DIViDED?   Wish you would have seen the run throughs under the guidance of an experienced pro (not me).  Might have been something that actually appealed beyond a handful of gossipy ladies.

There are two sides to every story. 

And often the other side isn’t told.  Or even heard.