Mayim Bialik Set to Return to 'Jeopardy!' Soon
Mayim Bialik's latest tenure as Jeopardy! host will begin later this month. The Call Me Kat star will take over the show from Ken Jennings starting on Feb. 20. Bialik and Jennings split hosting duties this season, while Bialik hosted the primetime Celebrity Jeopardy! series last fall.
Bialik's new stint will begin on Feb. 20, with the first 14 episodes covering the High School Reunion Tournament through March 9, reports TV Insider. She will continue hosting after the tournament. Producers have not announced when or if Jennings will return before Season 39 wraps.
The Jeopardy! world was recently rocked by controversial winning contestant Jake DeArruda, 23, nicknamed the "most annoying contestant ever" by some fans partly due to his facial expressions. He was so contentious that Jeopardy! producers felt the need to respond during an episode of the Inside Jeopardy! podcast. Producer Sarah Foss noted that some of DeArruda's friends described him as a "genuine, kind guy" and they agreed after working with him in the studio.
"I know everyone wants to share your comments, but it's important to remember these are just people who are coming on the show they love and doing it the best way they know how to do it," Foss said, notes TV Insider. "I'm encouraging everyone to show a little more compassion on the message boards, a little more compassion out there. Because, again, you would not want to switch places with any of these people and be under the scrutiny that we do put some people under."
DeAndre's run didn't last too long. The Vermont native lost at the end of the Feb. 1 episode. He won three games, one shy of the mark needed to participate in the Tournament of Champions. At least he got a photo of himself showering with a bottle of champagne on Twitter before his run was over. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to drown out the haters," he wrote on Jan. 28.
In a Jan. 30 interview with TV Insider, DeAndre said he prepared for Jeopardy! by watching episodes hosted by Bialik and Jennings since he wasn't sure who would be hosting. "It's obvious to close watchers that she mispronounces words, blows through punctuation, and is genuinely inconsistent in her pacing," DeArruda said. "Ken, meanwhile, has been in trivia for most of his life, so he knows the proper words to emphasize and generally seems consistent with his pacing. This is important for buzzer timing purposes."
Before the 2022-2023 TV season began, the new Jeopardy! executive producer, Michael Davies, confirmed that Bialik and Jennings would split hosting duties. Bialik was also signed to host special primetime tournaments, including Celebrity Jeopardy! games that ABC aired on Sundays last fall. Bialik also stars in Fox's sitcom Call Me Kat, which airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET.