Good news for Jeopardy fans who wanted Mayim Bialik to nab the main hosting job. Bialik -- who was named as one of the game show's two new hosts, but only for primetime specials and spin-offs -- just got more time in the spotlight. Bialik will fill in as host of the syndicated quiz show now that Mike Richards has stepped down, Sony Pictures Television confirmed Monday.
Production resumes this week, and Bialik will host three weeks of shows, meaning 15 new episodes. The show plans to continue its search for a new permanent host for the syndicated shows following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek. (Could it be Bialik? Stay tuned...)
Jeopardy returns on Sept. 13 with one week of episodes hosted by Richards, which have already been taped. Bialik's three weeks begin on Sept. 20.
Additional guest hosts will be brought in to continue the season.
Richards stepped down after news reports showed a troubling past, especially for a host of a family-friendly and beloved quiz show. He was a controversial choice even before he was named to the syndicated hosting role.
When Variety wrote in early August that Richards was in advanced negotiations to become the new host, reports about his work on The Price Is Right resurfaced. During his time there, some models who worked for the show accused producers of discrimination and harassment. The Daily Beast obtained a memo sent by Richards to Jeopardy staff that reads, in part, "These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show. I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price is Right."
After that, The Ringer reported on offensive comments and jokes Richards made when he hosted The Randumb Show podcast several years ago.
Richards said in a memo to Jeopardy staff that "it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show." He apologized for drawing negative attention to the show, saying, "I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence." He remains a producer on Jeopardy.
Bialik on Burton
When Richards was named host, Bialik said she sympathized with Jeopardy fans who are disappointed LeVar Burton didn't get the hosting job.
"If you don't like me as the new host of Jeopardy, I'm sorry," Bialik said in an Instagram video. "I love LeVar Burton." Burton and Bialik worked together on The Big Bang Theory, and Burton was among the guest hosts who took turns at the helm of Jeopardy this year as the show tried out different contenders for the host slot after Trebek's death. The candidates ranged from former Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In her Instagram video, Bialik revealed how her son noticed people on social media saying she should host the show, and she called her agent and the whole thing progressed from there.
Jeopardy has a long history. Iconic talk show host Merv Griffin created the game show back in 1964, and it stands out from other quiz shows because contestants are presented with answers, and must respond in the form of a question.
Trebek died in November 2020 at age 80 from pancreatic cancer. He wasn't the first Jeopardy host, but he took over in 1984, and is the only host several generations remember. His last episode aired on Jan. 8, 2021, two months after his death, and just days before Jennings began his guest-host episodes.
The show is a powerhouse among game shows. Jeopardy has won 39 Daytime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, and many countries have created regional versions of the show. More than 8,000 episodes have aired.