Mayim Bialik returned to her Jeopardy! hosting duties a little over a week ago, replacing Ken Jennings as part of a rotating host concept from producers. The Big Bang Theory actress signed on as host just days after contestant Amy Schneider finished her record-setting 40 day run as champion of the quiz show. Jennings hosted for every one of Schneider’s wins, and he will likely return for another run before the season concludes in August. Until then, though, Bialik takes the reins for the foreseeable future — including for the upcoming National College Championship.
Of course, the move from Jennings to Bialik caused some social media outrage, even though the arrangement has been known for months.
“Bring @KenJennings back!!” one person tweeted. “I was actually a little sad Ken wasn’t hosting. I’d wish they just make up their mind and make Ken the permanent host with Mayim the host of the specials. Tired of guessing who’s going to be host each week,” another tweeted. “Where is Ken?” a third fan lamented on Instagram.
Conversely, some viewers were thrilled to see Mayim come back to the show. “Yay Mayim is back,” a follower commented on Instagram. “@missmayim is back! She is the best..” someone else wrote. “It’s Nice to see you again, Mayim Bialik,” a third wrote.
Bialik and Jennings both bring something different to Jeopardy!
Bialik also hosted from the end of September 2021 through the beginning of November of 2021. Producers have not announced how long she will host during this current run; but she will certainly stay throughout the college tournament, which ends on February 22.
Jennings, in the meantime, will act as a consulting producer behind the scenes. He began the duties in 2020 during Bialik’s initial run as host. Bialik gave some thoughts about the hosting gig and how being a woman affects her career.
“Every host, as we learn from the guest-hosting situation, does bring a bit of their own personality,” she said. “I stopped reading comments because some people were like, ‘She acts like she knows everything’ and other people were like ‘It’s clear she knows nothing.’ I’m like, well, it’s one or the other or somewhere in between. In terms of that, I try not to pay attention because people have such strong opinions about Jeopardy!. I’m female, and as much as men and women can and should do the same things, women are perceived differently.”
Bialik then continued: “I really try to be a neutral presence as much as possible so that it is not an issue. I get to be myself. I make a lot of stupid jokes. Ken and I both want to highlight our contestants, make them feel comfortable, make them feel good. The way he says things, I’m assuming he probably knows all those things. For me, I get to read them like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”