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Jeopardy's Mayim Bialik Defends 'Single Jeopardy' Usage In A Way That Should Still Please Fans

mayim bialik hosting final jeopardy
(Image credit: CBS Media Ventures)

Jeopardy! is searching for a permanent host to replace the iconic Alex Trebek. Until said person is found though, the show has settled into Season 38 with former champion Ken Jennings and The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik sharing hosting duties. But if you think the nature of their positions is making fans go easier on them in regards to how the show is traditionally hosted, you’d lose money on that question. Bialik has taken some heat over her use of the phrase “Single Jeopardy!”, but her response should allow everyone to walk away satisfied.

Fans of the long-running quiz show are sticklers for the rules. From Matt Amodio’s answering strategy to ensuring the accuracy of the clues, viewers hold the game to a high standard. Mayim Bialik drew their ire by referring to the first round of clues as “Single Jeopardy” on a recent episode. Speaking to Yahoo!, Bialik defended the phrase, pointing out that she only said it one time and, while admittedly rare, it was even a phrase that Alex Trebek used from time to time:

I know it may not be the norm, but when I saw that Alex had referred to it, it was not out of the norm. It was definitely not normative. I will never do it again! Even if it's in this script, I will not say it. People cared a lot. I get it, and I’m sorry, and I’m doing my best.

I wonder if the Jeopardy! sticklers were surprised to hear that the late, great host had also used the offending phrase? Either way, Mayim Bialik seemed to understand how important her phrasing was, and she promised not to do it again. Even if it’s in the script, she said, she will not say it again. That brought up another point though — the script. Bialik reads what is written for her. The host (who also also leads Fox's Call Me Kat) promised that when she’s said things incorrectly, they made her redo it:

If it wasn't right, they would've had me redo it. I barely act alone. I promise. There’s so many things that we re-tape. We go back, I flub things. You’re seeing an edited version. So, it’s funny. When I saw that, I was like, if it was literally not kosher, there’s a million producers and writers and researchers. They’re all listening to me.

She’s really got a point there. Even though the game is pretty fast-paced, it’s obvious that there’s communication happening between the producers, researchers and the host.  She further assured viewers that when she says something incorrectly, she’s made to re-tape it:

I say things all the time where they'll be like, 'What? Do it again.' So it's not like Mayim's going rogue! Everything is very carefully monitored. There's a thing in my ear, I promise.

Even if you don’t agree with the “Trebek defense,” I think we can all walk away from this satisfied that she’s not going to mislabel the “Jeopardy!” round again. She probably also learned that this fandom isn’t one you want to cross. Will we continue to see Mayim Bialik as host beyond Season 38? Only time will tell, but she seems to enjoy the job, having called it “super fun,” despite being undoubtedly difficult. 

Check your local listings to catch Mayim Bialik and/or Ken Jennings in action weekdays on Jeopardy!, and check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what new and returning shows are premiering soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.