Jeopardy! will have not one but two new hosts.
Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy! from 1984 until his death from pancreatic cancer in November 2020.
Sony had held off on choosing a permanent new host, opting instead to feature a rotating slate of guest hosts.
Both Bialik and Richards had turns as guest hosts, as did Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen, and David Faber.
Richards will act as full-time host of the daily game show, while Bialik will host its primetime and spinoff series (including a forthcoming Jeopardy! National College Championship).
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family,” Bialik said in a released statement. “What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumour from Instagram that I should guest-host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I’m so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I’m just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we’ve had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!”
Bialik portrayed Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory between 2010 and 2019. She also has a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA.
Richards said he’s “deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy!”, adding: “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode.
“Alex [Trebek] believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love. I am thrilled that Mayim is joining the Jeopardy! team. Her academic track record and enthusiasm for the game made her a terrific guest host. It will be a privilege to produce the primetime series with her as host.”
Trebek first announced his cancer diagnosis in March 2019. He shared regular health updates with viewers in the following months and kept hosting Jeopardy! as he underwent treatment.
He died on 8 November 2020 at the age of 80. In a Thanksgiving message that aired two weeks after his death, Trebek urged viewers to “keep the faith” in spite of “what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now”.
“There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbours, and that’s a good thing,” he said, adding: “We’re going to get through all of this, and we will be a better society because of it.”
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