Fan favorite Jeopardy! guest host Mayim Bialik will temporarily fill in as host once again following the brief tenure of executive producer Mike Richards. After the death of longtime host Alex Trebek in 2020, the beloved game show employed a series of guest hosts until a permanent host could be named. It was recently announced that Richards had been tapped by Sony to host Jeopardy! full time while Bialik would host its tournament specials.
The news of Mike Richards getting the job generated great controversy when it was announced, leading to widespread criticism from the show's fans on social media. Making matters worse for Richards was the emergence of controversial comments he'd made on the podcast The Randumb Show between 2013-14. Richards publicly apologized and had the podcast scrubbed from the internet, but the damage was done as he ended up resigning from the job. He will remain on board as executive producer.
When Mike Richards stepped down, he released a statement announcing that guest hosts would be brought back while the search for a new permanent host was back on. It's now been revealed that Mayim Bialik is the first in line with The Big Bang Theory star scheduled to tape three weeks' worth of episodes when production resumes this week. Additional guest hosts will be announced in the near future.
When it was first announced that Richards would host Jeopardy! primarily with Mayim Bialik hosting the specials, Bialik said in a statement: "I couldn't be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! Family. What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I'm so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I'm just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we've had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!"
Meanwhile, fans of Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton see this as another opportunity for the fan favorite guest host to get another shot at impressing viewers. Some fans feel that the odds were stacked against him as he was only given one week of hosting duties while many other guest hosts were given two. He also had to film them all in a single day, and while Burton admitted that it took some adjustment for him at the start, he felt that he had hit his stride by the end of his fifth episode.
"The pressure, the natural tendency was to want to live up to Alex's example, his legacy," Burton told The Grio. "I had, like all of the hosts, one day of rehearsal and the following day I shot five episodes of Jeopardy!. I came backstage after taping the first episode and I said to [my wife] Stephanie, 'Well, how did I do?' She said, 'Ehhh.' Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth. She said it wasn't me."
Burton added: "I made it my business for the next four chances at bat to just be myself, to forget about the procedure, to forget about the process, stop trying, stop focusing on the wrong thing. You're not going to be smooth as Alex, let go of that. But what you can bring to the table is you. So that became my point of focus. And when it did, I started having fun."
While Mike Richards had barely spent any time as the new host of Jeopardy!, he will be featured in the next season, as the plan is still to air the episodes he had already filmed. It remains to be seen who will get the job full time, but there are already fans campaigning for Bialik to just stick around permanently, and the same can be said for the LeVar Burton crowd. This news comes to us from Deadline.