Mayim Bialik has finally found her Jeopardy! cohost, and it’s a name that shouldn’t surprise anyone: Ken Jennings.
The game show legend is reportedly stepping in after Mike Richards’ controversial hiring and departure, per TMZ. The former executive producer put on the search for a new host, and was eventually declared as a host alongside Bialik.
Jennings was one of the first guest hosts in the rotating cast of celebrities that took turns after Alex Trebek’s death on November 8, 2020. However, Jennings alongside names like Aaron Rodgers and Katie Couric didn’t get the permanent job.
Now, Jennings is back, although it doesn’t seem to be a permanent position. Instead, TMZ reports that the former Jeopardy! champ will host a few weeks worth of episodes. Bialik will host the majority of the season, which just started this week.
Further, the outlet says Sony, the owner of Jeopardy!, has not decided what’s coming after this season. Jennings may seem like a perfect replacement, but TMZ’s sources say Sony doesn’t consider him to be a permanent option.
The reason? The same as Mike Richards: controversial statements in the past. In Jennings’ case, it’s not comments on a podcast, but instead old Tweets that are the issue.
Jeopardy! Addresses Report, Confirms Jennings
Not long after the initial report came out, the show followed up on its official Twitter account. Jeopardy! made the announcement fairly cooly, making a tongue-in-cheek statement in reference to the reports coming out.
“Not sure if you’ve heard but @missmayim and @KenJennings are hosting me until the end of the year. Everyone on the staff is supralunar.”
It’s about as casual as an official acknowledgement and announcement can get. However, we have to commend the show for pulling out the vocabulary with supralunar, which is pretty on-brand. For those who are wondering supralunar is a word to describe astronomy focused beyond the moon. Essentially, the tweet is saying the staff is “over the moon” about the hiring.
Former Host, Producer Mike Richards Addresses Backlash
To no surprise, Mike Richards has kept a low profile recently. Even before his ousting, Richards was fairly quiet after the initial response to him hosting was mixed at best.
However, Richards and the show still produced a week of episodes with him as host, which are currently airing. As Outsider’s own Chris Haney wrote up, in a recent episode, Richards addressed the off-set drama and issues.
“You know, the power of this show has always been derived from the contestants,” Richards explained on-air. “And my pledge to Jeopardy! fans everywhere is to continue to make this stage a place where our contestants can shine their absolute brightest.”
While it’s a nice sentiment, hindsight tints the statement in a pretty strong way. Either way, Richards is out, Jennings is in(for the time being,) and Jeopardy! moves onward.