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Why Jeopardy Champ Mattea Roach Thinks Ken Jennings Should Get The Hosting Job Over Mayim Bialik

Mattea Roach speaks in Jeopardy! interview.
(Image credit: Jeopardy!/YouTube)

Jeopardy! fans are in a holding pattern now, as Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik continue to swap hosting duties in their agreed-upon semi-permanent roles to finish out the classic quiz show’s 38th season. Nobody knows who’s going to continue to host full-time after the current season wraps in July, and if they do, nobody’s talking. The lack of knowledge about what'll happen next has led to a lot of speculation and opinions about who’s best for the job, and now even Jeopardy!’s latest super-champ Mattea Roach has taken a side. 

Mattea Roach, the winningest Canadian in Jeopardy!’s history, has had the opportunity to play under both co-hosts as she continues what is now a 23-game win streak. She put her support behind fellow champion Ken Jennings to get hired for the permanent role, and she explained her reasoning to Vulture:

I would say Ken because of his history with the show. As a contestant, there’s something really special about being onstage with the greatest player of all time. Someone who understands in a very visceral way what it’s like to be in your position. Mayim is fantastic, but she doesn’t have that same experience.

Mattea Roach’s support of Ken Jennings is based largely on the fact that Jennings is a Jeopardy! superstar. After the late, great Alex Trebek, Jennings is arguably the game show’s most recognizable celebrity, and has presumably been on that stage more times than anyone beyond Trebek. For contestants who are also big fans of the show, as well as being extremely smart, having the trivia master leading the game brings a particular “wow” factor that Mayim Bialik can’t (through no fault of her own). Of course, contestants who are huge Big Bang Theory and Blossom fans have different viewpoints, but I digress.

As the 23-year-old tutor said, it’s not that Mayim Bialik isn’t great, it’s just that Ken Jennings is on another level when it comes to the question-and-answer game show, its format, and everything else Jeopardy!-related. Another former champion, Arthur Chu, has also voiced his support for the GOAT, pointing out that Jennings was likely the successor that Alex Trebek would have chosen.

For what it’s worth, Mayim Bialik has said she’d love to continue hosting permanently, and that she had received the blessing of Alex Trebek’s family to do so if she was given the chance. Some people think the decision has already been made, and that the executives are waiting until the end of the season to make an announcement, but that's more based on speculation than rumored leaks. 

Ken Jennings left the ABC game show The Chase ahead of its third season, leading some fans to believe he was clearing up his schedule to make room for more Jeopardy! Similarly, some fans thought that Mayim Bialik might be the pick, as Johnny Gilbert introduces her as “the host of Jeopardy!” while Jennings gets a slightly different “hosting Jeopardy!” intro. 

Mattea Roach’s opinion makes a lot of sense, which should come as no surprise, since she’s been impressing audiences with her smarts since her first episode aired April 5. Her 23-game win streak is good for fifth-place all-time (Ken Jennings holds the record with 74 consecutive wins), and her $560,983 so far has already pushed her into the Top Ten for all-time winnings

We’ll keep watching to see how far Mattea Roach can go as we wait for an official update on the hosting situation. Season 38 is set to end July 29. Check your local listings to see when Jeopardy! plays in your area, and be sure to take a look at our 2022 TV Schedule to see what shows are premiering soon.

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

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.