Mayim Bialik has received a very warm welcome from viewers as the new Jeopardy! host. The Big Bang Theory star’s debut as temporary host of the syndicated version of the Sony quiz show rose 6% in ratings from the previous week when Mike Richards’ short-lived tenure ended.
Mayim Bialik’s week, which featured the continuation of Ph.D. student Matt Amodio’s Jeopardy! winning streak, also rose 6% from the comparable week last year, The Wrap reports. With a 5.4 rating, the popular game show tied with Family Feud atop all of the syndication for the week ending September 26th. Jeopardy! averaged 8.9 million viewers in total while Family Feud had 8.6 million. Wheel of Fortune finished third with a 5.0 rating and 8.3 million viewers.
Since the passing of longtime host Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! has been in a state of instability. At first, the series ran with various guest hosts like Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, LaVar Burton, and more. Eventually, ABC decided to name the show’s executive producer Mike Richards as the new permanent host. But this decision was met with backlash as old lawsuits relating to his time on The Price Is Right called Richards’ character into question. For now, Mayim Bialik is the host.
While Richards tried to deny the allegations, he was unable to separate himself from the scandal. On August 20th Richards stepped down from hosting duties, leaving the legendary series without a host once more. Fortunately, Jeopardy! soon revealed that Mayim Bialik and previous winner Ken Jennings will co-host the series until the end of 2021. Although the network probably wasn’t expecting her to be such a huge hit with viewers, Bialik has been the light in an otherwise dark situation.
In a recent interview with Newsweek, Mayim Bialik revealed how she landed the highly coveted hosting gig. “Of course I was in touch with Mike as he was my boss at that time, and I don’t wish ill on him, or anyone,” she told the publication. But she also explained that the complexity of the situations is not something that can be summed up easily.
For now, Mayim Bialik is only a temporary Jeopardy! host, but she would love to make the position permanent. She told Newsweek there is no other job she’d rather have. The actress also joked that she would give up her first child to host permanently. “I think my son and I have a close enough bond that he will come back to me,” she said. If she continues to bring in Jeopardy! viewers, her wish might just come true.
Mayim Bialik is no stranger to television success. From 1991 to 1995, she starred as the title character of the NBC sitcom Blossom. Created by Don Reo the series followed Blossom Russo, a teenager living with her father and two elder brothers.
From 2010 to 2019, she played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. For her role, Mayim Bialik was nominated four times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She eventually won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2015 and 2017.