We’ll take “Jeopardy! Host Drama” for $500. Last summer, Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik were officially instated as co-hosts for the show. Replacing Mike Richards who temporarily filled in for the series longtime host Alex Trebek, when he decided to step down. Jennings and Bialik were expected to share hosting duties for the upcoming 40th season, as well as its slew of spinoffs, sans “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” which Bialik hosts solo.
As confusing as this arrangement may sound, executive producer and showrunner Michael Davies says it was working. “When Ken is hosting and Mayim is hosting, there’s zero difference [in the ratings],” Davies told Vulture in May. “I back both of them. I go to the studio every day and try to make both of them better at hosting the show and make a better program environment around them. They have my full support.”
But later that month, things got a bit complicated when Bialik exited the show a week early. She wanted to to stand in solidarity with the WGA strike (the SAG-AFTRA strike hadn’t begun yet). As a result, Jennings stepped in for season 39’s final episodes, which Bialik was slated to host.
On August 7th, Davies explained the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes had seriously altered season 40. The upcoming season would now involve recycled questions and recycled contestants, presumably until the strikes are resolved. But fans couldn’t help but notice that Davies failed to mention who would be hosting. Since Bialik was still gone and Jennings has been receiving pressure not to cross the picket line. With the new season starting on Monday September 11th, this seemed like a huge question mark to still have.
Jennings confirmed he would be hosting, despite the backlash. A commenter on X (formally Twitter) called him a “disgrace” for crossing the picket line, Jennings shared a highlighted portion of a Sony press release. He noted Trebek continued to host during the 2007-2008 WGA strike. That season also used the same strategy of old, but WGA sanctioned, material. The issue here is, 2007-2008 strike was just the WGA. With SAG-AFTRA also being on strike, this makes it a very different situation than what Trebek faced.
On August 18th, official social media accounts for “Jeopardy!” released a new poster celebrating the 39th season finale. The image featured Jennings, with Bialik nowhere in sight. Which is odd, considering she did half of the hosting. Fans and news outlets questioned if she would still be involved where ignored. By August 21st, the post was removed.
Just a few hours later, ABC announced Jennings would be hosting “Celebrity Jeopardy!” when it returns on September 27th. A show the network previously confirmed that Bialik would host.
Currently, all inquiries about Bialik’s future on “Jeopardy!” are being kicked over to parent company, Sony. We’ll keep you posted on news about the show as it becomes available.