We’ll take “a series that just keeps landing itself in the headlines” for $200, please. Earlier this month, former Jeopardy! co-host Mayim Bialik announced that “Sony has informed me” that she would no longer be hosting the syndicated version of the stalwart trivia competition moving forward (a.k.a. the main version of the show that broadcasts on primetime television). While Bialik was gracious to the series in her post and used most of her statement to express gratitude for her time behind the lectern, one doesn’t need to read too far into her use of passive voice to glean that this departure was not her choice.
Ken Jennings—now the show’s sole host—may be just as surprised by Bialik’s departure as Bialik herself. “It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her,” the many-time Jeopardy! winner said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I can’t speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it.”
He’s not really revealing his own opinions either. In an extremely diplomatic response, Jennings continued: “On my end, I’m just a fan of Jeopardy! and I’m always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster.”
As the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes caused Hollywood to grind to an almost complete stop this summer, Jeopardy! became an unexpected lightning rod for controversy around strike rules and scabbing. Despite pushback from its own picketing writers and former winners who refused to take part in a Tournament of Champions that used recycled questions, Jeopardy! continued on throughout the shutdown. As a result, Bialik stepped down from both regular Jeopardy! and Celebrity Jeopardy! for the duration of the strikes, while Jennings stayed on.