‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik Reveals Whether or Not She’d Make a Good Contestant

by Suzanne Halliburton

On season 38 of Jeopardy! Mayim Bialik has just the right touch of smarts and charisma to pull off hosting duties.

But how would she see herself as a contestant on Jeopardy!? You’d think she’d put together a string of wins. After all, she earned an advanced degree in neurosciences from UCLA and she’s part of this country’s pop-culture fabric. Plus, she’s comfortable in front of the camera. The bright lights don’t make her nervous.

Still, despite her background, Bialik thinks she wouldn’t make a very good contestant on Jeopardy! She discussed the topic Tuesday morning when she did a remote appearance on the morning chat show Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Bialik admitted she’d probably know about 1 percent of the answers (questions) before the other contestants could buzz in. That seems awful low, but the Jeopardy! host explained why as she named her good categories.

“If there’s a science category, obviously,” Bialik said. “I do really well with biblical history. But other than that, the kind of knowledge these contestants have, it is so phenomenal. It’s so specific. But also they have to do everything under pressure. If you give me 10 minutes, I could maybe figure out a question.”

We still think she’s underselling her ability as a Jeopardy! contestant. And Bialik used her time to compliment those who have qualified to play the quiz show. They need to be both smart and calm.

“I mean, that’s the thing. It’s doing it under pressure,” Bialik said. “With all of that stuff going on, it is an extra set of skill just to be able to hit that little button.”

As for her Jeopardy! hosting duties, she said: “It’s unbelievable. I mean, it is super fun and I love it, but it is non-stop thinking, talking, having someone in your ear, constantly calculating. I mean, if you think it’s hard for the contestants to know all those things, imagine having to read them all those things. It’s very difficult.”

Jeopardy! selected Bialik and super champion Ken Jennings as hosts for season 38. The two are rotating the job. Jennings is in charge of the show this week.

Bialik also is busy with her Fox sitcom. Season two of Call Me Kat premieres Sunday night. And Fox placed it in a prime spot for viewers, since its NFL coverage is the lead-in to the comedy. Fox describes the show this way: “A 39-year-old woman decides to use the money her parents had been saving for her wedding to open a cat-themed cafe.”

After Sunday, the show returns to its normal night on Fox’s Thursday primetime schedule. Of course, you also can check out Bialik on Jeopardy!. We’ll probably never know if she’d make a terrific contestant.