After executive producer Mike Richards quickly stepped down as “Jeopardy!” host a week after he was named as a permanent replacement to the late Alex Trebek, Mayim Bialik quickly stepped up to take the reins.
Although Bialik was named to host the special spin-off tournaments and specials, she was unable to commit to the rigorous hosting schedule full-time due to her various other projects, like season 2 of her Fox sitcom, “Call Me Kat,” in which she stars as the title character.
Regardless, one “Jeopardy!” contestant, Matt Amodio, shared a glimpse as to what it was like being a contestant on the “Jeopardy!” stage throughout its tumultuous past few months.
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Amodio first started his run when the show was still entertaining its guest host auditions. As a result, he got to meet some famous faces, including Robin Roberts, LeVar Burton, and Joe Buck. Although he has participated under five different hosts, Amodio did not feel that the experience was “disruptive” to his playing style.
“I’m not really focused on the host when I’m playing,” Amodio explained in a recent Newsweek article. “I’m just staring at the question, trying to remember, so it didn’t really impact me at all. There are also 20 people on set working for ‘Jeopardy!’, all doing their jobs and making you feel comfortable, the fact that one of them is changing isn’t so huge.”
“He treated me very well,” Amodio continued. “I’m just a contestant. I’m not in the backstage area, but still, he always made me feel comfortable.”
He added, “There was a lot of turmoil happening, but he and everyone on the staff did a great job of keeping the contestants feeling as normal as possible.”
As for Bialik, Amodio says that “she does a really good job. I have been amazed by her.”
He continued, “I know her situation was not an easy one. She knew the attention was going to be on her with the hosting situation, and she had to jump in there unexpectedly.”
That being said, Bialik has admitted that she tries not to let the audience’s expectations affect her work.
“I don’t feel any of the drama when I’m there, and I would like to think that’s hopefully what I can offer: that I don’t read the news,” Bialik shared in a recent interview. “In some cases, that’s a detriment, because I don’t always know what’s going on, but I’m not checking Twitter on my way in to see who thinks should be on ‘Jeopardy!’ that day. I go to work, and I do my job.”
She also commented on the drama surrounding the selection of the next “Jeopardy!” host, admitting, “A lot of us didn’t realize how much and with what intensity people would be invested in these conversations about ‘Jeopardy!’. This is not a world that has had drama. It’s been a pretty wild ride. What I want is stability for the crew and for the staff and, as much as possible, for the viewers. There’s a reason that ‘Jeopardy!’ has been known as a low-drama, no-drama form of entertainment. That’s how it should be.”