‘Jeopardy!’: Here’s How Long Mayim Bialik Is Filling in for Mike Richards

by Leanne Stahulak

Sony Pictures Television tapped actress Mayim Bialik to guest host for “Jeopardy!” in the wake of executive producer Mike Richards’ hasty exit.

Sony originally hired Richards for the job on Aug. 11. But in the weeks since then, Richards’ past offensive comments towards women and other groups caused him to step down from the full-time host position. He managed to tape five episodes in one day, on Aug. 19, before stepping down on Aug 20.

Now, Variety reports that Bialik will step in for the remainder of this week. She’ll tape three weeks’ worth of “Jeopardy!” episodes, the outlet said, for a total of 15 episodes. Bialik originally signed on to host primetime “Jeopardy!” specials such as the upcoming college tournament.

But with Bialik only taping three weeks of episodes (in the next three days), who will fill in for the remainder of the season? The new season was supposed to air on Sept. 13, giving production an entire month to film new episodes. Now that premiere date is only three weeks away, with only about 20 episodes officially ready to air.

We’ll have to wait and see until Sony officially announces the remaining guest hosts. In the meantime, people speculate that “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings could return as a guest host or fan-favorite LeVar Burton. Sony’s hunt for guest hosts continues alongside their hunt for a new permanent host.

Why Didn’t Mayim Bialik Take On the Permanent ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Position?

With Mayim Bialik taking over for Mike Richards temporarily, some have wondered why Sony didn’t just offer her the full-time position in the first place. But according to CNN, the studio did express interest in Bialik, but she couldn’t fit it in around her busy schedule.

“The studio loves Mayim but at the time of the decision for the current season, her schedule for ‘Call me Kat’ was set and she wouldn’t have been able to juggle the syndicated show and her Fox sitcom,” an inside source told CNN. Bialik is both the star and creator of the sitcom, which premiered this year.

“Now that there is some more time to figure things out, she has become a real viable choice for Sony,” the source continued. “It just makes sense to ask her to step in for several weeks while they figure out next steps.”

CNN also reported that Richards was believed to be involved in the process of choosing the next host. But the source quickly shut down that talk. They said Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Tony Vinciquerra and Global Television Studios chairman Ravi Ahuja are the ones calling the shots.

“They very much don’t want to go through another extended audition process,” the source said.

“Jeopardy!” fans don’t either. It seems like the smart move on Sony’s part is to not rush the process, but carefully consider each and every candidate for the job (and whether they have any incriminating podcasts in their past).