The time Mayim Bialik has spent as one of the co-hosts of Jeopardy! has proven so controversial to fans of the game show, you’d think she was the one who changed it so Han Solo shot second. Recently, the former Big Bang Theory star was asked what she would say if she were offered the job of permanent host. What will be good news to some and horrible news to others is that Bialik responded that she’d love to get the job.
Mayim Bialik was posed the hypothetical question of being offered the late Alex Trebek’s old job by ET Online at this past weekend’s Critics Choice Awards. The actress answered, “I would love that. I like to say, I’ve lived season to season, since I was about 13 years old. So, what I know is I’m hosting until May 6, and beyond that, hopefully.” She added that she hoped she’d know for sure what would be happening before May 6.
Initially it was Mike Richards who was tapped to replace Trebek as Jeopardy! host, but those plans ended after word leaked of Richards’ allegedly racist and sexist behavior behind the scenes. Richards stepped back from the gig, and the hosting duties for Jeopardy! are currently being shared by Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings. Back in December, the game show announced that the pair would continue co-hosting at least until the end of the current season.
The controversy over Bialik’s involvement with Jeopardy! has been brewing since the beginning. It started with fans being unimpressed with some pretty controversial statements Mayim Bialik has made in the past, including conflicting statements about her stand on vaccinations, and an incredibly polarizing 2017 op-ed the actress published in the New York Times about the now convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein which many saw as a prime example of victim-blaming. In the piece, she implied that Weinstein’s victims wouldn’t have been harassed and/or assaulted if they had dressed more modestly and refrained from acting flirtatiously.
Things only heated up when Mayim Bialik commented on the controversy surrounding her Jeopardy! job. Appearing on The Late Late Show with James Corden (via TV Insider) in September, Bialik mused, “Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts Jeopardy?” Many angry fans took this as an implication that the same game show she was hosting was not important enough to care about, which did nothing to ingratiate Bialik with her critics.
At the end of January, a new controversy erupted over the co-host’s behavior. Before the commercial break, Mayim Bialik began referring to every round before Double Jeopardy as “Single Jeopardy,” which had never been done before. Fans reacted harshly on Twitter, blasting the co-host for the change. You can see just a few examples of those reactions below.
Mayim Bialik finally responded to the outrage just last week, while speaking to Yahoo Entertainment. While the co-host said she understood the frustration, she also said she was going strictly by the script. “If it wasn’t right, they would’ve had me redo it,” Bialik insisted. “I barely act alone … If it was literally not kosher there’s a million producers, writers and researchers and they’re all listening to me. I say things all the time where they’ll be like, ‘What? Do it again.’ So it’s not like Mayim’s going rogue! Everything is very carefully monitored. There’s a thing in my ear, I promise.”
We’ll all have to wait and see whether or not Mayim Bialik wins the gig for good. In the meantime, we can only be sure of one thing — if Bialik becomes host full-time, Twitter will never shut up about it.