On Monday night, “Jeopardy!” fans received some surprising news.
Fans have been waiting for months for Sony to decide whether or not “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time tournament winner Ken Jennings or “The Big Bang Theory” alum Mayim Bialik would take over as the new host of the long-running game show after late host Alex Trebek, who would have celebrated his 82nd birthday last Friday.
On July 25, Deadline reported that a source told them what Sony plans to do with the hosting role going forward.
Has ‘Jeopardy!’ Decided To Name Mayim Bialik Or Ken Jennings As The New Permanent Host?
According to Deadline, a source told the outlet that “Jeopardy!” producers have decided to keep letting Ken and Mayim alternate hosting duties. The source said that both parties are currently in negotiations to share hosting duties for the upcoming season 39, which will air in the fall. Ken Jennings is currently finishing up hosting season 38, which will wrap up on Friday, July 29.
Deadline reached out to Sony Pictures TV for confirmation of the news, but producers told them that they would “not comment on speculation.”
However, many fans had expected this and several fans had actually expressed an interest in letting Mayim take over special tournaments with Ken hosting regular “Jeopardy!” gameplay.
According to The Daily Mail, production sources can confirm that both Ken and Mayim will stay on to host, as Deadline originally reported, with Mayim hosting “Celebrity Jeopardy!” this fall.
“This is fantastic news, our audience loves Mayim and Ken and we can’t wait to work with them both,” a source told the publication. “Like our late dear friend Alex Trebek, they love the show and make it special for our viewers at home.”
“Both are extraordinarily smart and have been a dream to work with, so it will be nice to have them take Jeopardy into the future,” the insider added. “There are also endless spinoff opportunities that they can both be part of, so no one host will feel overwhelmed with the amount of preparation that goes into hosting these shows.”
They say that an official announcement may come as early as this Wednesday.
How Did We Get To This Point?
After Alex Trebek passed away in November 2020, a series of guest hosts took over with celebrities like CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Greenbay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers trying their hand to take over the hosting position. Ken Jennings was first up after Alex passed, and was reportedly the highest-rated guest host.
However, executive producer Mike Richards named himself the new host of the show, with Mayim tapped to host primetime specials and tournaments. However, Richards was quickly fired from his role as host after fans dug up offensive comments that he made about women and minorities on his podcast. About a week later, Richards was also let go as executive producer and Michael Davies has taken his place.
Although Mayim stepped in at the beginning of season 38, which saw the 38-game run of super champ Matt Amodio, she had responsibilities to her Fox sitcom, “Call Me Kat.” As a result, Ken Jennings was asked to fill in while she fulfilled her other duties. The two have been tag-teaming every since. With Bialik expressing an interest in directing another movie, and with her Fox sitcom renewed for another season, it looks like she won’t be able to commit to filming the show full time.
It remains to be seen whether the regular gameplay show will be split, or whether Mayim will only continue to host special tournaments, as she has done in the past. In November 2021, she hosted the Professor’s Tournament, and in February, she hosted the National College Championship, which aired on primetime.
Ken Jennings has widely been considered the favorite to take over the show given his friendship with Alex. In 2004, Ken set a 74-game win streak that has never been beaten. In January, Amy Schneider came closest when she completed her 40-game win streak.
Michael Davies May Have Already Given Fans An Answer
As The Blast previously reported, back in June, Davies said, “We hope to have a hosting announcement very, very soon.” However, he also hinted that producers will end up naming more than one person as host, even going as far as to insinuate that new faces would be joining the “Jeopardy!” hosting team.
“But with all of our plans for Jeopardy!—which is more Jeopardy!, not less, more versions—we’re going to need multiple hosts to represent the entire audience, to represent the entire country, in order to take this franchise forward,” Davies said.
In addition to the tournaments, there has been at least one “Jeopardy!” spin-off show that has been announced. In September, “Celebrity Jeopardy!” will air on ABC on Sundays.
The Daily Mail says that Mayim Bialik has been tapped to host, but no official announcement has yet been made. It seems that fans should get an official statement from “Jeopardy!” producers before season 38 draws to a close this Friday.