Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings will serve as the interim hosts of Jeopardy! for the remainder of the long-running game show’s season following the departure of executive producer Mike Richards.
“Jeopardy! will see Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings host shows that will air through the end of the calendar year. Beginning Monday, September 20th, Bialik is hosting several weeks of episodes, which will air through November 5th,” Sony said Thursday. “After that, Bialik and Jennings will split hosting duties as their schedules allow.”
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) September 16, 2021
After Richards dismissed himself as Jeopardy’s new host following a string of controversies — but not before he helmed a few weeks of episodes, including the current run — producers announced they would return to the guest host format the show adopted after the death of Alex Trebek in November 2020.
However, TMZ reports that after Richards was axed as executive producer, the show opted instead to steady the hosting reins with Bialik and Jennings, who at one time was a frontrunner and reportedly Trebek’s handpicked choice for the gig.
Bialik was previously enlisted to host three weeks of episodes following Richards’ exit; those episodes filmed in late August. The Big Bang Theory actress was also tapped to host a series of Jeopardy! primetime specials and spinoffs.
Jennings was the first in a revolving door of guest hosts that appeared on Jeopardy! following Trebek’s death; as reported by the New York Times, prior to Jennings’ 30-episode stint, Trebek’s widow gifted him a pair of Trebek’s cuff links, a gesture that suggested that Jennings was Trebek’s personal choice to succeed him at the Jeopardy! podium.
However, following a questionable hiring process, executive producer Richards anointed himself as the new host of Jeopardy! Soon after, a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against Richards during his time at The Price of Right resurfaced, as did clips from a 2013 podcast where he made derogatory comments about women, Jews, and people receiving unemployment.
In a statement issued August 20th, Richards said, “[O]ver the last several days 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. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”