‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik Confronts Criticism for Past Comments

by Suzanne Halliburton

Mayim Bialik confronted her old anti-vaccine comments long before she ever was in contention to be a Jeopardy! host.

Yet, the stuff she used to say about shots keeps bubbling up as Jeopardy! continues to vet who will be the permanent host of the venerable quiz show.

An Associated Press reporter asked Bialik if she was concerned her past comments would wreck her chance to be the show’s host. After all, Mike Richards was supposed to be the permanent host of Jeopardy!. Then, Richards’ own comments from past podcasts were given new life. He lost the job as host, then later as the show’s executive producer.

“I don’t regret that at the time I wrote a book about parenting,” Bialik said. “My kids were young, they hadn’t received all their vaccines. Now I’ve been very public and declared that I am a vaccinated person, we’re a vaccinated family, we’re all vaccinated for COVID.

“That’s part of the challenge of being a public person,” she said. “And the court of public opinion is extremely significant. I’m grateful to Sony and to Jeopardy! for believing in me as a host right now, with the ability to do my job with all the other things aside.”

Even Before ‘Jeopardy!’ Gig, Bialik Tried to Clear Up Anti-Vax Comments

The Covid-19 pandemic is shining an unflattering light on people who refuse to be vaccinated. Last October, Bialik posted a video on YouTube in which she discussed her views on shots. She announced she’d gotten a flu shot and wanted the jab for Covid. This was a reversal from past views. In 2009, she told People “we are a non-vaccinating family.” Three years later, Bialik wrote a parenting book. In it, she said her children were on a non-traditional vaccine schedule.

“Now you might be saying, ‘Hey wait a second, Dr. Mayim Bialik, you don’t believe in vaccines,’ “she said in the YouTube video. “You’re one of those anti-vaxxers! I know it because I read it online. Well folks, let’s finally talk about it.”

Bialik and Jeopardy! super champion Ken Jennings will split guest-hosting duties on the quiz show for the rest of this calendar year. Some of Bialik’s episodes are airing this week.

She wants to be the permanent host. Getting tagged as an anti-vaxxer would be bad for her Jeopardy! brand. Plus, Bialik also is a “science” ambassador and spokesperson for a so-called brain supplement. Critics believe there’s no science to back up claims that it’s good for the brain.

Meanwhile, Bialik doesn’t view these next few months as another tryout for Jeopardy! She already did that once. Producers were impressed enough to make Bialik the host for special Jeopardy! primetime shows and a new college tournament.

“I’m not auditioning for anything anymore,” Bialik said. “I’m doing the job that’s in front of me and letting the business executives do what they need to do.”