Ever since the heartbreaking loss of Alex Trebek to pancreatic cancer last year, loyal Jeopardy! viewers have been wondering who would permanently fill the host’s shoes. It is, arguably, a testament to how singular Trebek was that the process of choosing a new host has proven to be filled with much more controversy than one might expect. After the surprising ousting of Mike Richards, the decision was made that former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik would share hosting duties; at least for a while. Now, the show has finally announced whether it will be Jennings or Bialik who hosts the show for the remainder of its 38th season.
As reported by Deadline, Jeopardy! announced today that both Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will continue to co-host the game show. That makes Bialik and Jennings hosts until the end of Jeopardy!‘s current 38th season, which is scheduled to conclude on Friday, July 29, 2022. Once that date is on the horizon, presumably we’ll get another update.
At one point it looked like the question of Trebek’s succession was settled. Mike Richards had been tapped as the new permanent Jeopardy! host, but almost as soon as Richards’ new gig was announced, he lost it. Reports of Richards’ behavior on other shows began to emerge, including allegedly racist and sexist behavior many fans thought weren’t worthy of someone looking to replace Alex Trebek. Richards stepped down in disgrace, and together Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings stepped in to fill the void.
While she’s obviously not been forced to step down like Richards, Mayim Bialik has not had a smooth ride as Jeopardy! co-host. Controversies from Bialik’s past have risen to the surface, with some fans objecting to her hosting gig because of past comments she’s made about her family being “non-vaccinating.” Bialik maintains she is not an anti-vaxxer and has said that she is vaccinated for COVID-19.
More potentially damning than her views on vaccination is the controversy over the 2017 op-ed Mayim Bialik wrote for the New York Times. In it, Bialik impled that women who had fallen prey to the now convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, and others like him, were partly responsible for the assault and harassment they endured. She wrote that if actresses chose to not dress modestly and to act flirtatiously, they are being “naive about the culture we live in.” She would later apologize for what she wrote, but many fans have not forgotten.
Even commenting on the controversy turned ugly for Mayim Bialik. When the host went on The Late Late Show with James Corden and mused, “Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts Jeopardy,” that comment alone got her in hot water on social media. Plenty of Jeopardy! fans took what she said to mean that their favorite game show wasn’t worth getting passionate about, and the Twitter storm ensued.
Still, Jeopardy! clearly feels Mayim Bialik’s strengths as a host outweigh any social media backlash, as she and Ken Jennings will continue to cohost at least until the end of season 38. Meanwhile, Ken Jennings will have to weather much less serious criticism, like critiques about his dad jokes.