Jeopardy! remains in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The high-profile host search seemed over when the program announced Mayim Bialik and Mike Richards would split doing. Bialik has penned an op-ed discussing the process and Richards’ controversial exit.
The State Of Things
The downfall of Richards was very public. The former producer of Jeopardy! was named permanent co-host alongside Bialik only for fans to revolt. Antisemitic and sexist comments, as well as a lawsuit from his time on the Price is Right, caused an immense backlash. After only a few shows on the job, Richards announced he was stepping down as host of Jeopardy!, and he was relieved from his producer role not long after.
This left the show in a tough spot: needing to find a search after eight months of looking with tapings around the corner. After it appeared there would be another guest host search, the reigns were eventually split between Bialik and Ken Jennings for the rest of the year.
Bialik Speaks Up
In an op-ed for Newsweek, Bialik is opening up about the entire process. She said she only called her agent about hosting Jeopardy! as a joke, but one thing led to another. She wrote, “I was terrified to take on guest hosting,” but the job felt natural. Wil Wheaton told her she would get the job, and sure enough, she did… kind of. She would host some tournaments and primetime specials, but the regular hosting gig was all Richards.
Bialik had this to say about Richards stepping down: “I go where I’m pointed and I do the job I’m told to do. I do what’s in front of me. I don’t really follow the news aspect of my industry too much.” Her only connection to Richards was as a boss. Her immediate response to his stepping down was t ask the Jeopardy! team “how can I help?”
She Loves The Job
It’s clear that Bialik is a professional who did not wish any ill will, nor does it appear that she pulled strings to get the job. We also know that she loves the show, and is taking her hosting job very seriously. In the piece, she wrote: “I joke that I would give up my first child to host permanently!” Balancing the dream job with the rest of her shows will take tact, but she’s clearly game.
Bialik begins hosting Jeopardy! on September 20. Whether or not she and Jennings will stay beyond January 1 remains to be seen. Here’s hoping the dust is finally settling on an interesting stretch in Jeopardy! history.