Two hosts will take over where the late Alex Trebek left off — Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik
Alex Trebek was absolutely iconic in his role as the host of long-running trivia game show Jeopardy!. So iconic, in fact, that it seems his role can’t be filled by just one new host — the show has announced that two people will share behind-the-podium duties going forward. Neuroscientist and actress Mayim Bialik and the show’s executive producer Mike Richards will both host with Richards as the show’s regular host and Bialik at the helm for special prime time and spinoff episodes, including a new college championship due to air in 2022.
The pair replace the late Trebek, who filled the role for 36 years before dying late last year from pancreatic cancer. Bialik, an actual neuroscientist, is also known and loved for her roles on Blossom and The Big Bang Theory. Richards has already been working on finding a replacement for Trebek before it was announced that it would probably be him. Controversy followed as news of law suits surfaced including one involving pregnancy discrimination in a complaint filed by a former Price Is Right model, as well as sexual harassment by another model on the show.
Richards issued a statement this week saying: “These were allegations made in employment disputes against the show,” he wrote. “I want you all to know that the way in which my comments and actions have been characterized in these complaints does not reflect the reality of who I am or how we worked together on The Price Is Right. I know firsthand how special it is to be a parent. It is the most important thing in the world to me. I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys.”
Reactions to Richards being named host were decidedly mixed as some fans felt his role as executive producer gave him undue influence over the process of selecting a replacement for Trebek. In an email to Jeopardy! employees released to media this week, Richards said, “The choice on this is not my decision and never has been,” Richards wrote. “Alex always believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show.” He told staff he was “humbled and deeply honored” to be asked to take over the position.
Bialik took to social media to share the exciting news with her followers. “ITS TRUE!!! Been waiting a long time to tell you all,” she writes. “Really really honored and astounded and excited for this – it’s beyond anything I ever imagined could happen.”
A slew of famous faces performed stints as guest hosts in recent months, most notably LeVar Burton, who had a solid fan campaign behind his bid to become the permanent host. Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, and Ken Jennings also subbed in.