Ken Jennings Finally Speaks Out on Mayim Bialik’s Shocking ‘Jeopardy!’ Exit
Ken Jennings has broken his silence on the decision to fire Mayim Bialik from “Jeopardy!” The former contestant and current host addressed the shakeup in an interview with the “Hollywood Reporter” published Tuesday.
“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her,” he told the outlet of his former co-host.
Jennings added that he “can’t speak to her decision-making process” or any of her “opinions” about the move.
The host clarified that he was “delighted” to step into a full-time role after Bialik was let go earlier this month. She had been co-hosting the series with Jennings since last year.
“On my end, I’m just a fan of ‘Jeopardy!’ and I’m always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster,” he said.
Jennings, 48, made his debut as a contestant on the syndicated quiz show in 2004. He won 74 consecutive games, setting a record for the show’s longest winning streak.
“It’s kind of a weird thing to try to bring back an ex-contestant to host, and I’ve obviously been learning as I go. But I loved growing up with ‘Jeopardy!’ where Alex [Trebek] was the host of that show for almost 38 years, and people just kind of felt like he was part of their family, and it’s impossible to fill those shoes,” he told the mag.
Jennings stated that he hoped to match Trebek and host the popular show for “37 more years.”
Bialik took to Instagram on December 15 to share that she would not be returning to the show as Jennings’ co-host.
The actress wrote — “As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some ‘Jeopardy!’ news. Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of ‘Jeopardy!’”
Bialik added that she was “deeply grateful for the opportunity” and “honored” to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
She concluded — “For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America’s Favorite Quiz Show, thank you.”
Trebek died from pancreatic cancer in November 2020, leaving the hosting spot up for grabs. Robin Roberts and Katie Couric stepped in as substitute hosts before the show announced that its executive producer, Mike Richards, would be taking over.
Richards left the hosting gig a few weeks later after some past controversial remarks made headlines. The series later named Jennings and Bialik as permanent co-hosts.