As Sony Pictures Entertainment continues the search for the next permanent Jeopardy! host, they reportedly have their sights set on interim and primetime specials/spinoff host Mayim Bialik. Bialik has been tapped to step into the role on a temporary basis following Mike Richards' departure from the position amid several controversies surrounding him, and bosses of the long-running game show are reportedly hoping the Big Bang Theory alum stays on as Jeopardy! host permanently, sources told TMZ.
The update isn't a recent development. Sources previously told TMZ shortly after the Aug. 11 hosting announcement that Sony Studios executives originally wanted Bialik as Alex Trebek's replacement. Execs were reportedly impressed with her guest-hosting stint, and she immediately became a frontrunner in the search for a permanent host. Despite the desire to have Bialik step into the role, it ultimately went to Richards due to conflicts in Bialik's schedule that would prevent her from taking on the role full-time. Amid Ricahrds' exit, however, executives are said to be "willing to bend over backwards" to cement Bialik's place as the permanent host of the long-running game show.
Sources told the outlet that "execs for the game show are doing everything possible to work around" Bialik's schedule "in order to bank as many episodes with her hosting the daily syndicated version." The "ultimate goal," according to the sources, is to have Bialik take on full-time hosting duties. In their desire to nab Bialik as permanent host, Sony bosses are reportedly even considering shifting the Jeopardy! filming schedule to accommodate Bialik's schedule. They are said to have offered the possibility of shooting on weekends and normal hiatus weeks. The desire for Bialik to become host is said to be "mutual," and Fox is "being cooperative with her interim hosting."
It was previously announced that Bialik would host primetime Jeopardy! specials and spinoffs. At the time, Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, said the actress "has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the Jeopardy! brand." Bialik said she "couldn't be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family" and called it "one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life!"
Currently, there is no word on who the next permanent host will be. Bialik is secured for 15 episodes of the syndicated version of the show. When confirming Richards' exit as host, it was said Jeopardy! will bring on more guest hosts. Despite the controversies that led to his departure in the position, Richards will maintain his executive producer spot.