Jeopardy! has been a bit all over the place since longtime host Alex Trebek passed away in 2020.
The series had a rotating panel of guest hosts before settling on fan-favorite contestant Ken Jennings and The Big Bang Theory alum Mayim Bialik.
That all came crashing down earlier this year when Bialik revealed she had been informed she would no longer be hosting the syndicated iteration of the show.
Months later, producers are speaking out about the thought process behind the decision.
Executive producer Michael Davies got candid about the situation with reporters on Saturday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, revealing that in the end, Jennings “really won the job.”
Davies said the multi-hosting situation helped because of Bialik’s commitments to Call Me Kat.
Jeopardy! EP cites consistency as the reason for Mayim Bialik’s firing
However, Davies said that television stations and “other interested parties were looking for more consistency,” meaning “they wanted a single host.”
Consistency is critical for any series, so the door is closed on Bialik as far as the syndicated show is concerned.
But that doesn’t mean she won’t be a part of the wider Jeopardy! franchise, with Davies going as far as saying the hope is to keep working with her on “primetime versions and spinoffs.”
While he didn’t have anything new to report about which of those other shows in the franchise she could be a part of, he stated that “those conversations are ongoing.”
Mayim Bialik could return for primetime editions of Jeopardy!
Obviously, this could be lip service to save face. Still, when you think about it, ABC is zeroing in on countless primetime iterations, so it would be difficult for Jennings to commit to the whole gamut of the Jeopardy! universe.
At the end of the day, these shows perform well for ABC and come in at a much lower price than scripted shows that can’t match the ratings, so keeping them alive is a win-win for the network.
Even if Bialik doesn’t close a deal to continue on the primetime versions, there’s a good chance another celebrity will be drafted in to take her place.
For a show with so many hosts over the last four years, it probably isn’t a good idea to reinvent the wheel again.
Bialik has many fans, but Davies previously revealed that the viewership between hosts on the syndicated version is similar, signaling that viewers want to watch their favorite show play out, regardless of the host.
The show is so good that even when we’re questioning some easy clues, we’re still very much invested in it.