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Mayim Bialik Jokes That She Also Prefers Ken Jennings As Jeopardy Host While Addressing Fans' Feedback

Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik
(Image credit: CBS Media Ventures)

Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings have already weathered a pretty tough time in the history of Jeopardy! together. The actress and the Jeopardy! GOAT became the primary fill-ins for the game show after Alex Trebek’s 2020 death and the ensuing string of guest hosts. While both co-hosts have gotten criticism (constructive and otherwise) from the passionate fan base, Jennings has seemed to emerge as the fan favorite of social media users. During a joint interview, even The Big Bang Theory actress admitted he was her preferred host.

Ever since Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik were announced as temporary co-hosts for the duration of Jeopardy! Season 38, the two have been pit against each other in the public eye, as fans have lobbied for their favorite to take over the job permanently. However, in July it was announced that Bialik and Jennings would continue to split the schedule for the upcoming season. Both hosts discussed the gig (and the fan feedback they get) on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast, with Ken Jennings saying he thinks the two-host situation helps to satisfy a larger swath of the viewing audience. He said: 

I just kind of had to dissociate, like, you know what? Jeopardy!’s got such a big, diverse audience, you’re not gonna be able to please everybody every night, but I think that’s the virtue of having a couple hosts, you know? It’s a big, diverse audience, and maybe that helps broaden the tent. It’s a matter of taste, hosting style.

This prompted Mayim Bialik to share her own personal preference, as she proclaimed: 

I like you much better than I like myself!

This made Ken Jennings laugh, as he humbly responded, “Aww, likewise!” Jennings’ fans on social media are definitely pretty vocal, but he’s also received the support of other past Jeopardy! champions. Former player Arthur Chu said he was rooting for Jennings to take over for Alex Trebek full time, not just in solidarity with a fellow champ, but because he thought that’s who Trebek wanted.

Mattea Roach also lobbied for Ken Jennings, saying that while Mayim Bialik was great, there was something special about sharing the stage with Jeopardy!’s Greatest of All Time. Despite who’s standing behind the lectern, it was a Herculean task that Bialik and Jennings took on, attempting to fill the shoes of Alex Trebek, so some criticism is definitely expected. Bialik said she tries to listen to the fanbase without taking things to personally, saying:

I kind of take everybody’s opinion both with a grain of salt and also believe everybody has a right to their opinion.

The Call Me Kat actress certainly had to do that when fans took issue with her saying “Single Jeopardy!” to describe the first round of play, and she’s been very open about the trickiness of hosting. She said she’s heard some harsh criticisms, and she also gets different kinds of feedback than Alex Trebek did, from both fans and producers.

Regardless of if you prefer Ken Jennings or Mayim Bialik, there appears to be enough of each to go around. Bialik will host the new spinoff Celebrity Jeopardy! when it premieres Sunday, September 25, and Jennings will take the lead for the upcoming Second Chance Tournament and Tournament of Champions. He will also be behind the lectern for the start of Season 39. Keep up to date with all of the upcoming premieres with our 2022 TV Schedule

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.