Is Mayim Bialik the right Jeopardy! host who can ease all the anxiety and chaos that’s enveloped the beloved quiz show for much of the past month?
Bialik already secured a part-time Jeopardy! hosting gig when the quiz show does its prime-time specials. When Michael Richard resigned under pressure last week, Bialik stepped in to start filming episodes of the show. TMZ reported that Jeopardy! officials are doing everything possible to accommodate Bialik’s busy schedule. After all, she’s a co-star on the Fox comedy Call Me Kat.
Jeopardy! usually films at least five episodes a day. TMZ said Bialik is booked for 15 episodes. So that means she’s down for three days of work that will stretch to three weeks of content. Will there be more?
As they say, there are only so many hours in a day, so we don’t know if it’s even physically possible to do a network TV series and the preparation required for a high-brow quiz show. TMZ reported that there’s mutual interest in making Bialik the permanent host, as opposed to a conduit between the late Alex Trebek and whoever to be selected to ask the answers.
Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, announced last Friday that he’s resigning as host. He’d filmed only five episodes of season 38. Jeopardy! executives had been looking for a replacement for Alex Trebek since he died in November 2020. The show used a rotation of guest hosts to get through the rest of season 37.
Richards Forced to Resign Days After He Got Permanent Hosting Job
But as the Jeopardy! hosting search stretched into summer, more information was uncovered about Richards. He was a defendant in two discrimination lawsuits filed against the Price is Right. (Richards was an executive producer on the show and tried out to be Bob Barker’s replacement as host). Then, reporters sifted through his old podcasts and uncovered Richard’s comments about women, poor people, and the Jewish community. The podcasts were the breaking point. When they became public, Richards resigned, leaving Jeopardy! at square one. Richards also had filed five shows. So with Bialek’s 15 shows, the first four weeks of season 38 are covered.
Maybe Jeopardy! explores the wishes of Trebek, who in interviews before he died, suggested a couple of candidates. One of the attorney/legal analysts Laura Coates, who now works for CNN. The other is Alex Faust, the play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. Neither was a guest host this year.
Or maybe Jeopardy! looks at Ken Jennings, the super champion who served as a guest host for six weeks. He did the gig longer than another candidate and he pulled in the highest ratings. Actor LeVar Burton reportedly is also still interested in hosting. So is Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Hosting Jeopardy! isn’t as labor-intensive as it appears. The show can shoot five or more episodes in a day.