Mayim Bialik Takes Over Interim 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Duties
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Mayim Bialik is taking on the role of interim host of Jeopardy! amid a debacle resulting in former executive producer Mike Richards abdicating from the job.
The star of The Big Bang Theory is scheduled to host the episodes taped this week, as per CNN Business, meaning she’ll likely host three weeks of the show as it tapes a week’s worth of episodes on a single day.
Sony, the show's producer, has since confirmed that "additional guest hosts will be announced" as production of the new season continues. It’s currently on track to premiere mid-September.
Richards and Bialik were both guest hosts of the show during Season 37, which happened in the wake of iconic host Alex Trebek’s death in November. They were selected above other guest hosts such as Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric, LeVar Burton, and many more to continue Trebek’s legacy.
Their respective nominations to host came with caveats, as Richards was named the host of the weekday show while Bialik was named as host of Jeopardy! primetime specials and potential spin-offs. As of August 2021, only one primetime tournament was scheduled to air.
Prior to the announcement, Richards had come under fire in a report by The Ringer’s Claire McNear. McNear reported that Richards previously made disparaging comments about women, Jewish people, and more when he was acting as co-executive producer of The Price Is Right and hosting a podcast called The Randumb Show seven years ago. In subsequent days, two discrimination lawsuits he was involved in resurfaced, though he denied any wrongdoing.
Last week, Richards stepped down and issued a statement that noted how “deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show,” but that his “moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”
"As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today," he said, before apologizing "for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Former Jeopardy! contestant Catherine Ramen penned an op-ed for NBC News on the situation and stressed that the key issue in finding a host is “replicating the exact combination of traits that made Trebek so good at his job,” which she says “is impossible.”
“But his example gives us an idea of who makes a good host: someone with a sense of humor, some erudition and the ability to make everything — especially wonky trivia — seem fun,” she wrote, before later adding: “Jeopardy! will have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with its fans.”