Is Mayim Bialik Leaving Jeopardy? Why She’s Being Abruptly Replaced at the Last Minute
With her missing from the last week of episodes on Season 39, it’s understandable why viewers are asking if Mayim Bialik is leaving Jeopardy and what happened to her as the host of the game show.
Bialik joined as a guest host on Jeopardy in May 2021 after the death of the game show’s former host, Alex Trebek, from pancreatic cancer in November 2020. Bialik continued to host Jeopardy and its primetime specials and spin-offs until 2022 when she and former contestant, Ken Jennings, were announced as the permanent hosts of the series following the resignation of producer Mike Richards, who was hired as Trebek’s replacement in August 2021 but resigned a week later after sexual harassment and wrongful termination allegations.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2022, Bialik opened up about how she prepares for Jeopardy, which airs five days a week. “We do five episodes in a day, and I’m given the clues to prepare the day of filming,” she said. “So I have to review all those clues, practice pronunciations, look things up that I don’t know, and honestly try to get as much rest as I can the night before because they are long days, and I’m on my feet and talking all day.”
She also told the publication about her relationship with Jennings. “It’s been really nice to get to know him. He’s a cultural icon. He’s incredibly smart. He knows so many things, in a way that Jeopardy champions do. Pick anything and he likely knows about it,” she said. When asked what topics she would “feel OK about” answering Jeopardy questions to, Bialik noted her degrees in “neuroscience, and in Hebrew and Jewish studies.”
Bialik also told The Wall Street Journal that she didn’t know how much of a phenomenon Jeopardy was until she started hosting the game show. “How much the social media world pays attention to a lot of things about Jeopardy,” Bialik said “There’s a tremendous amount of attention to everything, from the transition after Alex passed to me, and then me and Ken, and then the clothing I wear.”
But after less than a year a Jeopardy‘s permanent host, could Bialik’s days be done. Is Mayim Bialik leaving Jeopardy? Read on for what we know.
Is Mayim Bialik leaving Jeopardy?
Is Mayim Bialik leaving Jeopardy? The answer is yes, at least temporarily. Deadline reported on May 11, 2023, that Bialik refused to host the final week of Jeopardy Season 39 in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America Strike. Ken Jennings, who hosts Jeopardy concurrently with Bialik, took over her role. The final week of Jeopardy Season 39 is to set to film at the Sony Pictures Lot in Culver City, California, from May 16, 2023, to May 19, 2023.
Jeopardy, which is produced by Sony Pictures Television, is a Writers Guild of America Show and features contributions from WGA writers for its questions and other show segments. Deadline reported, however, that the questions for Jeopardy Season 39 were written in advance of the season and the writers strike. Bialik and Jennings have split the Jeopardy‘s hosting duties since the start of Season 39 in July 2022. Jennings hosted between August to December 2022, while Bialik started hosting in January 2023. Jennings is set to film the last week of Jeopardy Season 39 before the show goes on hiatus for the summer.
In an interview with Variety in May 2023, Jeopardy writers Michele Loud, Jim Rhine and Billy Wisse explained why they were striking and the importance of writers on the game show. “Our words are on the screen every night,” Loud said. “There is no Jeopardy without writers. Without us it’s just an empty blue screen.” Wisse told Variety that the strike was part of a bigger fight to be “fairly compensated for the labor you give.”
Rhine also criticized Jeopardy for turning writing into a “gig economy.” “They’re asking some people to work day-to-day,” Rhine said. Wisse added, “They never tried to make it a gig economy before. There was always some sense that writers were partners in it.”
Jeopardy airs Mondays to Fridays at 7 p.m. on ABC.
For more on primetime shows, check out our photo gallery on the best nighttime soaps ranked.