Mayim Bialik's return as guest host of Jeopardy! this week has many more fans tuning in. Following a search for a new permanent host after the death of Alex Trebek, the show's former executive producer Mike Richards announced that he would personally take on the job with Bialik filling in for various spinoffs and primetime specials. The decision was immediately met with backlash from fans, many of whom were hoping to see Bialik get the full-time spot.
Making matters worse for Richards, several offensive remarks he'd made on a podcast years prior had come to light. Ultimately, he stepped down as host and was fired from his role as executive producer soon after. The Jeopardy! team then announced that Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings would return to take turns guest hosting the game show for the rest of the year until the next permanent replacement is named.
While the time Mike Richards spent hosting Jeopardy! was brief, the episodes still aired on television. His run is now over and Bialik has been hosting the new episodes since. Looking at the ratings, viewership shot up by 6% for Bialik's first week back compared to the week prior with Richards hosting. This will certainly have some fans questioning why The Big Bang Theory star wasn't just named as the permanent host. For her part, Mayim has already suggested she's happy to step up full time if asked.
"There's no other job I would rather have," Bialik said, per Glamour. "I love my sitcom work, I do. I love all the other things I do. I love the podcast. But I absolutely have never had a better job ... the use of my brain and my skillset feels best suited by this job on Jeopardy!. It is a dream job. I think it's a dream job for anyone, but especially for someone who is trained first as a performer and then as a science communicator."
It goes without saying that replacing Alex Trebek is not easy. There's a reason why Trebek had been one of the most beloved television personalities for several decades, and it's going to be a challenge for anyone to fill those shoes. Mayim Bialik may not have been a name most fans would have thought of first when it came to choosing who to succeed Trebek, but her previous stint as guest host won a lot of fans over. She has since had many people rooting for her to stick around on a permanent basis.
"We're kind of in that sort of mode: trying to get some stability and consistency back for our wonderful staff and crew, many of whom have been there for decades without any sort of drama or turmoil," Bialik told NBC News when it was revealed she'd share hosting duties with Ken Jennings for now. "That's what I think Ken and I are both focusing on right now."
She added, "My interest right now is for the viewers to not think much about what's going in terms of hosting, meaning I'd like to be as much of a neutral to pleasant presence as host of what's going to be a lot of episodes between now and several months from now. I really don't want to make it about me."
The rising ratings will certainly help make the case for Mayim Bialik to host the show full time. This news comes to us from TheWrap.