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

Mayim Bialik Blames ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosting Criticism On Gender: ‘Women Are Perceived Differently’

Home / Stars / Mayim Bialik Blames ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosting Criticism On Gender: ‘Women Are Perceived Differently’

By Kristin Myers on February 9, 2022 at 8:45 AM EST

Current “Jeopardy!” host Mayim Bialik doesn’t know what the future holds.

In a recent interview with Variety, Bialik seemed to indicate that she doesn’t know how long she will be hosting “Jeopardy!”. Right now, hosting duties are split between her and “Jeopardy” Greatest Of All Time tournament winner, Ken Jennings, who set the #1 win streak for 74 games won in a row back in 2004.

Although Sony previously announced that Bialik and Jennings will be splitting hosting duties for the rest of the season, even Bialik doesn’t know if she will still be behind the “Jeopardy!” podium in 2023!

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Mayim Bialik Admits To Stumbling On The ‘Jeopardy!’ Stage

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

The former “The Big Bang Theory” star has struggled to find her place on the game show stage. Although she said that she tries “to be a neutral presence as possible,” she admits that she has struggled behind the podium.

Although the contestants have clickers to buzz in for a question, Bialik has two buttons to press to alert producers of a problem. Unfortunately, it seems that was too much for Bialik to handle. She explained how producers had to remove a button when she kept pressing the wrong one.

“I have two red buttons, but they removed one,” Bialik confessed. “I accidentally hit the wrong one, so they took it away. They left my other emergency button in place. So I have a defunct emergency button.”

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Mayim Bialik Compares Her Hosting Style To That Of Ken Jennings

Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings on Jeopardy!
Instagram / jeopardy

Even Bialik is a fan of Ken Jennings! She said that “Ken is so beloved, so incredible. He’s a whole other level in the ‘Jeopardy!’ universe. When I first met him, I was so excited.”

“And he’s tall,” she added. “I never thought he was as tall as he is.”

Although Bialik has received a lot of criticism for her role as host, she has learned to stop reading the comments.

“I stopped reading comments because some people were like, ‘She acts like she knows everything’ and other people were like ‘It’s clear she knows nothing,’” she explained. “I’m like, well, it’s one or the other or somewhere in between. In terms of that, I try not to pay attention because people have such strong opinions about ‘Jeopardy!’.”

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Mayim Bialik Suggested That Some Of The Criticism Is Because 'I'm Female'

Mayim Bialik at the Saban Community Clinic's 43rd Annual Dinner Gala

During the interview, Bialik suggested that some of the criticism had to do with her gender.

“I’m female, and as much as men and women can and should do the same things, women are perceived differently,” she explained.

“I really try to be a neutral presence as much as possible so that it is not an issue,” she continued. “I get to be myself. I make a lot of stupid jokes. Ken and I both want to highlight our contestants, make them feel comfortable, make them feel good. The way he says things, I’m assuming he probably knows all those things. For me, I get to read them like, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’”

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'Big Bang Theory' Star Mayim Bialik Co-Hosting Jeopardy!
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Even though she said that she get to be herself on stage, Bialik said that “be yourself” is the least helpful advice that she’s gotten.

“It’s really, like, be yourself,” she explained. “But don’t do too much of this. Don’t do much of that. Don’t stand like that. Make sure you stand up straight. Don’t be too sexy. Don’t be not sexy.”

“In general, it’s the kind of thing I’ve needed a lot of practice, and the only way to get practice is to actually do the shows,” she added. “So I hope that I’m getting more natural, more smooth, less stupid jokes — but I can’t guarantee that.”

She Says Learning ‘Jeopardy!’ Rules Is An ‘Acquired Skill’

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]

When asked about the steepest learning curve, Bialik listed numerous challenges that she’s had to overcome.

“Speaking Jeopardese, as we call it, is an acquired skill,” she explained. “Not saying the same thing every time something is right, having each commercial break sound a little bit different, those are all challenges.”

“I think the steepest learning curve is also [having] someone in your ear,” she added. “You are processing a lot of information in real time. When things go wrong, it’s hard because wrong can mean they have to reset the whole board. Wrong can be very time consuming. There’s a lot of pressure. It is a high pressure job that I do in heels.”

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