ABC has finally settled on Mayim Bialik and longtime champ Ken Jennings as hosts of “Jeopardy!” through the end of 2021. Bialik will take on hosting duties for the first few weeks beginning September 20 and running through November 5. Then, she and Jennings will trade off on emceeing the show as their schedules permit. Together, they will take “Jeopardy!” through the end of the year after the long, drawn-out mess of executive producer and erstwhile host Mike Richards’ exit from the program.
Just nine days after he was selected to succeed Alex Trebek as the new host of “Jeopardy!,” Richards stepped down from the post in August, facing scrutiny after numerous past controversies resurfaced in weeks prior. But when he was first named as host (taping only just five episodes), it was also announced that “Big Bang Theory” favorite Bialik would also host the show’s primetime specials and spinoff series. She was then recruited to fill in as the daytime host following Richards’ departure.
On August 31, Mike Richards was officially fired as the executive producer of both “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune.” In a memo to staff, EVP of Business and Strategy for the shows Suzanne Prete wrote, “I’m writing to let you know that Mike will no longer be serving as EP of ‘Wheel’ and ‘Jeopardy!’ effective immediately. We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at ‘Jeopardy!’ it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks. That clearly has not happened.”
Ken Jennings was a possible contender to host the show back in November 2020 until past tweets mocking the disabled surfaced. This year, Bialik’s own social media history was turned over after she was announced as interim host. Long story short, this is a challenging post to fill for anyone with an online footprint.
After Trebek died on November 8, 2020, Jennings, Richards, and Bialik all filled in as guests hosts. Other guest hosts included LeVar Burton, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Anderson Cooper, Buzzy Cohen, David Faber, Aaron Rodgers, Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Bill Whitaker, Joe Buck, and Dr. Mehmet Oz.