Jeopardy! began its much anticipated season 39 last month with new hosts Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik, but not everyone is celebrating. Pam Mueller, a Jeopardy! champion herself, is questioning the decision producers made in choosing both Jennings and Bialik as permanent replacements for the late Alex Trebek.
Producers Wanted To ‘Keep Eligibility Open’
After a long selection period that saw the show’s former executive producer Mike Richards initially named as host before being let go from the show entirely, Jeopardy! producers announced that both Jennings and Bialik will act as hosts of the syndicated show throughout this season.
“I don’t think two hosts makes sense,” Mueller told The U.S. Sun. She thinks producers should have handled the choice in a much simpler manner. “Ken should do the syndicated show and Mayim the prime-time special tournaments. It will be interesting to see how the host duties are split, but that would have been more straightforward and made more sense.”
Pam Mueller revealed that other former champions were interested in hosting the trivia game show but weren’t even considered because producers wanted to keep the option of having them appear as competitors in future special episodes open.
According to Mueller, there was an emphasis to “keep eligibility open” so alums like herself and the legendary Brad Rutter could play again since Jeopardy! rules state that hosts technically can’t compete. “I did hear that about somebody else [who was interested]” she said.
Pam Mueller Knows ‘Jeopardy!’
For those who don’t remember, Mueller first competed when she was a student at Loyola University. She won a Volvo in the Jeopardy! College Championship in 2000 and was a semi-finalist in the 2001 Tournament of Champions.
She also knows Jennings all too well. In 2019, she was asked to compete in Jeopardy!’s All-Star Games, the only team-based tournament so far. Her team came in third, ironically losing to “Team Ken” and “Team Brad.” Mueller’s team took home $100,000 while Jennings’s team won $1,000,000.
She dished about the anxiety Jennings was feeling when he began hosting, saying, “Ken was super stressed out after Alex’s passing and when he started,” but she thinks he’s doing a great job in a tough situation. “Obviously, they want people who are recognizable and have good personality,” she added. “If they’d asked, I would have done it—it’s harder than it looks.”
With the dual hosts swapping off on the syndicated version, fans will have plenty of opportunities to judge their performances. Plus, both Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik have their own additional versions to run this season. Jennings will host the Tournament of Champions and the Second Chance Tournament, while Bialik will host the primetime spinoff Celebrity Jeopardy! and the Jeopardy! National College Championship in January 2023.