It’s been since last September that the hosting duties for the popular game show Jeopardy! have been split between Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings. In December, as reported by NBC News, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the co-hosting would continue through Jeopard!‘s 38th season, which concludes in July. Fans have been anxious to find out who would eventually wind up with full time hosting duties, and tens of thousands of dedicated viewers responded to a poll asking which one should have the job. What may or may not surprise you is that the winner, in an absolute landslide, was Ken Jennings.
TV Insider posted their poll at the end of March and unveiled the results on Tuesday. Out of a reported 29,683 votes cast, the website says 70% voted for Ken Jennings to continue his hosting duties, compared to Bialik’s 30%. On one hand, it could be seen as a surprising result. After all, while Jennings is a former Jeopardy! champion, outside the game show Bialik has more star power.
On the other hand, to many fans this is likely no surprise at all. Bialik has courted one controversy after another since she began co-hosting Jeopardy! Before she’d barely even had a chance to host, fans were slamming her for past issues including her public stances on vaccination and a 2017 op-ed she wrote for The New York Times in which she implied the victims of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were in part responsible for what happened to them. When Bialik responded to the criticisms by saying “Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts Jeopardy?” on The Late Late Show with James Corden, it only further infuriated fans, who took the comment as proof Bialik had little regard for the show she was hosting.
While taking issue with Bialik’s views on vaccination and #metoo is arguably valid; as her time on the show has continued, the complaints have gone from valid to pedantic to just plain silly. Many of Bialik’s loudest detractors have gone from criticizing her stances on important issues to her use of the phrase “Single Jeopardy” (which she claims was part of the script) and wearing a knit blazer while hosting that fans apparently didn’t like.
In the meantime, just about the most devastating controversy Ken Jennings has weathered while co-hosting was a reaction to a corny joke. And that reaction didn’t come from fans, but from whoever was running the game show’s social media. Back in November, when a contestant gave the answer of “eel” but didn’t get specific enough with “moray eel,” Jennings responded, “As Dean Martin would say, ‘that’s Amore.'” The Jeopardy twitter account posted a gif of the moment, warning “Dad joke alert!” and Jennings retweeted it, making an apologetic promise to the fans. You can see that promise — which we’re guessing, realistically, he couldn’t fulfill — below.
As for who actually will take over hosting duties of Jeopardy! after season 38 concludes, your guess is as good as ours. While Sony will no doubt not be basing their decision on a fan poll from a single website, something like the results TV Insider shared shouldn’t be ignored. As soon as we know, we’ll make sure you know.