Jeopardy! producers have faced all kinds of difficult decisions in the aftermath of Alex Trebek’s death, with the initial search for a replacement derailed in part by former EP and one-week host Mike Richards. By and large, things have been running smoothly with both Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik sharing duties behind the lectern, despite the usual discourse on the Internet leaning super-hard one way or the other. In fact, Jeopardy!’s executive producer Michael Davies has now made it official that Jennings and Bialik will continue to balance hosting responsibilities at least through the upcoming Season 39, and he talked out how that balance will work.
Boasting Jeopardy!’s most recent season asserting its distinction as “the most-watched entertainment show on all of television,” with more than 27 million weekly viewers on average, Michael Davies said that the show’s already busy schedule, plus their more expansive plans for the future, made it clear to the powers that be that multiple hosts would be the best-case solution. And now, a month after initially teasing an impending announcement, Davies confirmed that both Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik have signed and cemented their deals to stay on as dual hosts. Here’s how things will be split up.
When Ken Jennings Will Host Jeopardy!
With production for Season 39 kicking off in the Alex Trebek Stage on Monday, August 1, executive producer Michael Davies assured fans that they “will not flip flop the hosts constantly,” noting that all involved are aware that consistency is key in a situation like this. As such, Ken Jennings will be kicking off the new season when it starts airing in September, and he’ll be holding down the fort until December.
Jennings will also be hosting the highly anticipated upcoming Tournament of Champions, which will feature the returns of three contestants that broke into the list of all-time Top 10 Jeopardy! champions (not including tournaments): Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach, and Amy Schneider. Not to mention all the others who cleaned up shop elsewhere in the season. On top of all that, the former champ will also host the inaugural Second Chance competition, which will bring back favorite contestants who didn’t pull off wins the first time around.
When Mayim Bialik Will Host Jeopardy!
After Ken Jennings' run closes out in December, Mayim Bialik will take the baton in January following a holiday hiatus. The plan from that point on is essentially to have her around as long as possible, but Michael Davies notes that will be decided overall by her shared commitments to the Fox sitcom Call Me Kat, which will kick off Season 3 this fall. Should things go awry with that schedule, the EP's goal is to keep fans informed so that it won't be too much of a jolt.
But even before she takes over the traditional weekday episodes, Mayim Bialik will be front and center for the primetime spinoff Celebrity Jeopardy!, which is part of ABC's fall schedule lineup. She's also set to host Jeopardy!'s National College Championship, while Michael Davies also mentions "a couple of new tournaments" that she'll be involved with, though no details were given beyond that.
Davies also revealed that instead of going the traditional route of airing past tournaments as repeats during the summer hiatus, Jeopardy! producers are filling those six weeks with a handpicked selection of favorite episodes from Season 38. Those installments will feature games from the aforementioned mega-champions, as well as other close games, and ones featuring the soon-to-be-announced choices for the Second Chance competition. Plus, fans can now look forward to weekly Inside Jeopardy! podcast eps, which will take viewers behind the scenes with fun stories, informative analysis, special interviews and more.
So while this hosting news may not have been the game-changing reveal that some Jeopardy! fans were hoping for, I'm just glad they finally announced something permanent, so that the focus can go back to the game itself. Check out some of those specially curated repeats when Jeopardy! airs weekdays in syndication, and be sure to head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.