Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik has admitted that many fans would prefer to see Ken Jennings as the permanent host of the iconic game show rather than herself.
The battle for the position of permanent host of Jeopardy! has been raging since the tragic death of Alex Trebek, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2020. After experimenting with a bevy of guest hosts, the position now seems destined for one of two frontrunners, Mayim Bialik or Ken Jennings.
The 47-year-old Jennings announced in May that he would be stepping aside for an undetermined period of months, seemingly leaving Bialik in a prime position to nab the top spot. However, the 46-year-old The Big Bang Theory actor has now acknowledged that Jennings may be more popular with fans.
Mayim Bialik knows fans prefer Ken Jennings as Jeopardy! host
Mayim Bialik made the comments while speaking to actor Justin Long on her podcast Bialik Breakdown. Long mentioned that he and his family were long-time fans of Jeopardy! and asked if she’d heard from fans saying they preferred Jennings.
Bialik very candidly replied, “Sometimes, sometimes I get ‘We don’t prefer you to Ken.'”
Long responded by empathizing with Bialik and quickly moved the conversation toward fan treatment of celebrities, “Isn’t that wild? Well, it’s the only profession that I can think of, where people will tell you deeply insulting things but with a big smile?”
Bialik agreed, stating, “[fans say] exactly how they feel. Like ‘I saw you in a magazine. I was very confused. You looked pretty.’ I get that a lot.”
Decision on permanent Jeopardy! host expected in July
According to The Sun, a decision on who will be the permanent host will be decided at the end of this season, next month. From a ratings point of view, it does look like Jennings might be the favorite. He pulled in a whopping 9.7 million viewers on his first appearance, whereas Bialik pulled in a respectable but considerably lower 5.9 million viewers.
Another fan favorite for the Jeopardy! role was Star Trek star LeVar Burton, who guest-hosted the show in July 2021. Burton has spoken out about how he deeply desired the job, and his feeling of humiliation after the show’s producers ditched him.