Ken Jennings will be the sole host of Jeopardy! as the game show returned for its 40th season on September 11. It had been unclear if Jennings would host alone or if co-host Mayim Bialik would return amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. In May, the Call Me Kat star stepped away from the show in the final week of season 39 in support of the strike.
Whether Bialik will have the opportunity to return to Jeopardy! once the strike ends remains uncertain. Showrunner Michael Davies openly admitted that her exit “derailed” his vision for the post and upcoming season. While her decision in solidarity with her colleagues is commendable, they may have placed her in a challenging position with the show’s producers, ScreenRant reports.
Jeopardy’s New Season Will Look Different
Davies previously said that season 40 of the top-rated quiz show will undergo some changes due to the ongoing writers’ strike. Speaking on the Inside Jeopardy! Podcast, the showrunner revealed that the upcoming season would proceed with its fall premiere. However, it would feature recycled contestants and questions.
Davies expressed his concern about the fairness of introducing new contestants to the iconic Jeopardy! stage with non-original material, which also includes content written before the strike. To address this, the show decided to provide a second chance to contestants from season 37 who initially did not succeed in the game show.
Ken Jennings will be the sole host of Jeopardy! this upcoming season.
These contestants will participate in a special second chance tournament at the start of the new Jeopardy! season. Winners from this tournament will advance to an exciting event called the Champions Wild Card, where they will face off against winners from seasons 37 and 38. The ongoing WGA strike, which began in May due to failed negotiations with the AMPTP, necessitated the changes.
Once the WGA strike concludes, Davies explained that season 39’s post-season will take place, culminating in the Tournament of Champions. For the initial episodes of Jeopardy!, featuring contestants from seasons 37 and 38, the questions will be a blend of content written by WGA writers before the strike and material drawn from previous seasons of the show.
The annual Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, which typically takes place during the regular season, will be postponed and recorded once the writers’ strike has been resolved. Additionally, Davies revealed that when normal Jeopardy! episodes return, the second and third-place prize money will see an increase of an additional $1,000 each, resulting in prize amounts of $3,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Whether Bialik will have the opportunity to return to Jeopardy! once the strike ends remains uncertain.
Despite the challenges posed by the strikes, Jeopardy! remains a television powerhouse, boasting approximately nine million viewers each week. The show has enjoyed a broadcast history of over three decades on ABC-owned television stations in major U.S. markets. Moreover, the network recently renewed the show for five more seasons, cementing its enduring presence on the small screen.
With no end to the strikes in sight, the possibility of Jeopardy! Finding a new co-host cannot be ruled out. However, Ken Jennings has embraced his role as the sole host and is very capable of carrying the show forward for as long as necessary.