The era of the super champion is in full swing on Jeopardy!. Controversial champion Mattea Roach just took home over half a million on the quiz show. She’s chiming in on the great debate of whether Ken Jennings or Mayim Bialik should become Alex Trebek‘s permanent replacement as host on the long-running game show. Here’s what she has to say.
An Impressive Reign
The 2020s have given us three champions who stick out across the rest. Matt Amodio went on a 38-game winning streak to the tune of $1.51 million. After him came Amy Schneider, who went on a 40-game run and earned $1.38 million in the process. Until last week, it looked like Roach would join their ranks. She ended up winning the fifth-highest amount in the history of the show and went on a 23-game run.
Roach’s style of play has chaffed some viewers of the show. Her youth and nonchalance made her beloved by some but resented by others. She also had a tendency to think through her decision out loud. Some critics felt that she was deliberately distracting the competition by doing so.
Mattea Explains It All
In an interview with Vulture, Roach confronted the whole distraction rumor: ”The notion of my comments being distracting either to the viewers or the players, I was like, Huh? You don’t have time to think about weird mind games…I would never want to be deliberately distracting to another player, because it’s so unsportsmanlike.” She has a point; Jeopardy! Is very fast and you’re rewarded for quick thinking.
Who Should Host?
This decade was also marked by an ugly hosting scandal. Alex Trebek’s death led to a wave of guest hosts. The powers that be ultimately chose fellow producer Mike Richards, but he was ousted for sexist comments and questionable behavior. He was replaced by two hosts, Jennings and Bialik. The two are still splitting hosting duties, and fans have freely compared who they prefer.
When asked who she felt should host, Roach was surprisingly forthright: Jennings all the way. “I would say Ken because of his history with the show. As a contestant, there’s something really special about being on stage with the greatest player of all time. Someone who understands in a very visceral way what it’s like to be in your position.”
Roach wasn’t intending to rag on Bialik at all. She added, “Mayim is fantastic, but she doesn’t have that same experience.” Roach should be taking on Amodio and Schneider in what’s shaping up to be a tournament of champions for the ages.