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'Jeopardy!' goes with Mayim Bialik, Ken Jennings as hosts for the rest of the year

Christie D’Zurilla, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

In the latest twist for “Jeopardy!,” Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will rotate as hosts at least for the rest of the year as producers figure out what to do about a permanent replacement for the late Alex Trebek.

“Not sure if you’ve heard but @missmayim and @kenjennings are hosting me until the end of the year,” the show’s Twitter account posted early Thursday. “Everyone on the staff is supralunar.”

Over the moon indeed: Actor Bialik and former “Jeopardy!” champion Jennings both did guest-host gigs before Mike Richards, formerly a “Jeopardy!” executive producer, was named the syndicated show’s permanent host in early August.

But inappropriate podcast comments that Richards made in 2013 and 2014 resurfaced, along with lawsuits that alleged poor treatment of models on “The Price Is Right.” Though none of the lawsuits were solely against him, and he was dismissed as a defendant in one of them, the backlash proved too much for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Richards stepped down Aug. 20, and episodes that had been taped with him as host are airing this week through Friday.

Meanwhile, Bialik had been given the permanent job of hosting prime-time “Jeopardy!” shows and spinoffs, and so far that decision has stuck.

“Beginning Monday, September 20, Bialik is hosting several weeks of episodes, which will air through November 5,” Sony Pictures Television said in its statement Thursday. “After that, Bialik and Jennings will split hosting duties as their schedules allow.”

 

The weeknight show, which is in its 38th season of syndication, has a weekly audience of more than 20 million viewers, according to the Nielsen NPower ratings.

The day before he stepped down as host, Richards said in a statement to the Ringer, which reviewed all 41 episodes of the podcast where Richards made his offensive remarks before they were scrubbed from the internet, “It is humbling to confront a terribly embarrassing moment of misjudgment, thoughtlessness, and insensitivity from nearly a decade ago. Looking back now, there is no excuse, of course, for the comments I made on this podcast and I am deeply sorry.”

Less than two weeks later, he also was ousted as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and its companion show, “Wheel of Fortune.”

“We had hoped that when Mike stepped down from the host position at ‘Jeopardy!’ it would have minimized the disruption and internal difficulties we have all experienced these last few weeks,” Suzanne Prete, executive vice president for business and strategy at “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!,” said in an email to staff in late August.

“That clearly has not happened,” Prete wrote.

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