Ken Jennings Breaks His Silence on Mayim Bialik
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Jeopardy! fans were shocked when Mayim Bialik announced that she’ll no longer host the game show — and so was her cohost, Ken Jennings.

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her,” Jennings, 49, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Tuesday, December 26. “I can’t speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it.”

Jennings went on to say that he’s grateful he eventually landed the hosting gig after Alex Trebek’s death in November 2020.

“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,” he explained. “It’s kind of a weird thing to try to bring back an ex-contestant to host, and I’ve obviously been learning as I go. But I loved growing up with Jeopardy! where Alex was the host of that show for almost 38 years, and people just kind of felt like he was part of their family, and it’s impossible to fill those shoes. But it’s such an honor and hopefully I look forward to 37 more years of doing it, when I’ll be a very, very old man.”

Bialik, 48, announced earlier this month that Sony informed her she would no longer be hosting Jeopardy! starting in 2024. “As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some Jeopardy! news. Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy!” she wrote via Instagram on December 15. “I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Jeopardy! family. For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America’s Favorite Quiz Show, thank you.”

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Sony, meanwhile, said that production decided to have one host for the syndicated show going forward “to maintain continuity” for viewers. “Ken Jennings will be the sole host for syndicated Jeopardy!” a spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “We are truly grateful for all of Mayim’s contributions to Jeopardy!, and we hope to continue to work with her on primetime specials.”

Following Trebek’s death at age 80 from pancreatic cancer, a series of guest hosts including Jennings, Bialik, Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric and Robin Roberts helmed the long-running game show for one-to-two week stints at a time. In August 2021, Sony announced that Bialik would host primetime Jeopardy! specials while executive producer Mike Richards would take over emcee duties for the syndicated show.

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Less than one month later, however, Richards, 48, stepped down after previous offensive comments he allegedly made about women and the Jewish community resurfaced. Jeopardy! returned to a rotating schedule of guest hosts until July 2022 when Sony announced that Jennings and Bialik would share the emcee role.

Prior to hosting Jeopardy!, Jennings was a contestant, first appearing on the show in 2004. With 74 wins, he still holds the record for longest winning streak on Jeopardy! In 2020, he won $1 million after finishing in first place in the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament, beating out fellow Jeopardy! legends Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.