A lovely photo of Mayim Bialik in a black suit and purple inner blouse.

Mayim Bialik Says She Was 'Raked Over The Coals' After Being Named 'Jeopardy!' Host

Home / Stars / Mayim Bialik Says She Was 'Raked Over The Coals' After Being Named 'Jeopardy!' Host

By Kristin Myers on February 7, 2022 at 8:45 AM EST

It seems that not all “Jeopardy!” fans are supporting Mayim Bialik as the new host of the decades-long game show.

After long-time host Alex Trebek tragically passed away from pancreatic cancer in November 2020, Sony began a hunt to try to find the next suitable replacement through a lengthy audition process that included everyone from Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

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‘Jeopardy!’ Hosting Process Smeared By Controversy

A photo showing Mike Richards in a black suit
Instagram | Mike Richards

In the end, it was “The Big Bang Theory” host Mayim Bialik who was chosen to host special tournaments, and executive producer Mike Richards announced that he would become the new face of “Jeopardy!”.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse when offensive and insensitive comments that Richards made about women and minorities surfaced from old clips of his podcast, prompting him to step down only a week after his announcement. He was fired from his role of executive producer of the show shortly after.

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Left without a host, Bialik quickly stepped up to fill in the gap. However, she could not commit to the role long-term due to obligations with filming season 2 of her Fox sitcom, “Call Me Kat.” To help manage some of the workload, “Jeopardy!” G.O.A.T. tournament winner Ken Jennings stepped in to host.

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Who Is The Host Of ‘Jeopardy!’ Now?

Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings on Jeopardy!
Instagram / jeopardy

Late last year, “Jeopardy!” announced that both Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will both fill in as hosts. This gives Bialik time to fulfill her acting responsibilities and also gives Jennings time to work on his other trivia game show, “The Chase,” in which he also appears with other “Jeopardy!” greats: Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.

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Many have backed Ken Jennings to become the single host of “Jeopardy!” due to his long experience with the show. In 2004, he set the number one win streak with 74 games won in a row. That record has not been broken since, not even by Amy Schneider, who made headlines when her 40 game win streak ended last month. It’s worth noting that Ken Jennings, who was the first guest host for the first six weeks after Alex passed away, was also the highest-rated guest host, which featured over a dozen auditions.

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Amy Schneider 3
Twitter / jeopardamy

Although Ken Jennings hosted all of Amy’s impressive run, fans were surprised to see Mayim Bialik return to the hosting podium the following week. Some were not too happy, all for varying reasons. Some took issue with the way Bialik keeps referring to the first round of “Jeopardy!” as “single Jeopardy!”. Others took issue with the way that Bialik keeps accepting answers without asking contestants to be more specific.

For example: If the answer is “The most followed woman on Instagram”, there needs to be a more specific answer than “What is Jenner?” because the clue could be referring to Caitlyn Jenner, Kris Jenner, or Kylie Jenner. (Answer – it’s Kylie, who just gave birth to a baby boy yesterday!)

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That’s not the only reason that Bialik has come under fire. Many have criticized her previous stance on vaccines when she described her family as a “non-vaccinating one” in 2009. In 2017, she also wrote a New York Times op-ed which seemed to blame the victims of convicted Harvey Weinstein, saying: “I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”

Mayim Bialik Addresses Controversy: ‘I Weathered It To The Best Of My Ability’

Mayim Bialik takes a selfie on the "Jeopardy!" stage.
Instagram / missmayim

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s TV Top 5 podcast, Mayim Bialik said that her critics had “a great time” after she was selected as the new “Jeopardy!” host.

“Oh, they had a great time!” she said. “And look, I think it's really kind of incredible. And it was an absolutely fascinating turn of events to be kind of, like, raked over the coals for literally things that I said and have spoken about.”

“You know what I mean? I mean, I literally wrote a book,” she continued. “Like, it's all there, and I think it's been a big learning curve, but also a really humbling one. I feel like I weathered it to the best of my ability. It definitely felt embarrassing to be on CNN about being the Jeopardy! host because my kids weren't vaccinated as newborns.”

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Mayim Bialik at the 23rd Annual Critics' Choice Awards held at the Barker Hangar on January 11, 2018 in Santa Monica, CA ©Tammie Arroyo/AFF-USA.com. 11 Jan 2018 Pictured: Mayim Bialik. Photo credit: MEGA TheMegaAgency.com +1 888 505 6342 (Mega Agency TagID: MEGA144151_005.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]

Although she knows that not everyone will agree with her politically, she hopes that people will be able to focus on the show even with her behind the podium.

“I'm not everybody's cup of tea, and I totally get that,” she added. “My goal is to blend into the podium as much as I can and have it not be about all of that other stuff.”

“You will not find a human who doesn't have something that they've said, did or thought about, especially in this industry where everything is documented and documentable,” she continued. “You know, that's the nice thing about me. I really don't have secrets, people. It's all out there, and I've made a YouTube video about it already.”

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A collage photo showing Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik going about their 'Jeopardy!' host duties

“Jeopardy!” hasn’t released a list of who is hosting and when. That being said, fans looking forward to seeing Ken Jennings back behind the podium can celebrate his return on Monday, February 14!

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