Mayim Bialik left Jeopardy to join the striking WGA members on the picket line.
As the Writers Guild of America strike presses onward, many productions such as Saturday Night Live and Apple TV+’s Severance have begun to shut down out of solidarity with the out-of-work writing staff, which makes up the lifeblood of the television and movie industry. According to a write-up in Deadline, Mayim Bialik has departed production while filming the final week of Jeopardy‘s season in solidarity with the writers on the picket line, making it the first game show to be impacted by the strike. While Bialik will not return for her final scheduled shoot days this season, production will continue on the long-running series, with Ken Jennings taking her place.
Due to the nature of Jeopardy‘s production schedule, the series with its famous Daily Double has been permitted to continue filming as usual, despite being a WGA-repped show, since all the writing staff’s usual work has been completed in advance of the shoot. Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings have been alternating as Jeopardy hosts since the start of the season, with Jennings taking on the mantle from the August to December half of the season and Bialik joining back on from January to the upcoming Summer break. Though Mayim Bialik is not currently a member of the WGA, her status as a SAG member is well noted, with her career roots in scripted series.
Long before Mayim Bialik would come to host Jeopardy, she became a household name through a series of major placements in popular sitcoms, including the 1990s NBC series Blossom, for which she played the titular role. Bialik also starred alongside Jim Parsons as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, appearing in over 200 episodes from 2010 to 2019. Most recently, the Jeopardy host led the Fox series Call Me Kat as a quirky owner of a cat-themed cafe, concluding the series earlier this month with the show’s third season.
With her writer-supporting bonafides on full display, Mayim Bialik was sure to respectfully join the Jeopardy writing staff along the picket line, just as many other entertainment figures have in her place. Other notable figures to strike in solidarity with the WGA in the past week include Better Call Saul co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, as well as Adam Scott, Nathan Fillion, and Drew Barrymore. United States President Joe Biden has also weighed in to suggest studios cave at the demands for television writers to be compensated fairly for their work and receive quality benefits, making television writing a viable career path in the modern day.
Though Mayim Bialik’s departure will not cripple the most-watched show in syndication, her support for the cause has been noted. Jeopardy has already been renewed for the next five years, with no signs of slowing or stopping production at this time. Of course, the last writers’ strike went on for 100 days, bringing a number of shows to delay future seasons and changing the landscape of television as we knew it, so, for now, we’ll have to wait and see.