Jeopardy! has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. Mike Richards taking the reigns after the late Alex Trebek came amid talk of a workplace discrimination lawsuit during his time on The Price is Right. And while fans of some hosts who ultimately didn’t make the cut may still be outraged, it seems those behind the scenes didn’t ultimately get their pick for host either.
According to a TMZ report, Mayim Bialik was apparently the producers’ first pick to host Jeopardy! full-time but she was unable to commit to the show’s hefty workload of filming five shows a day for a good portion of the year.
According to our Sony Studios sources … “The Big Bang Theory” star became a frontrunner with bosses at Sony to permanently host the game show after guest hosting in March. On top of that, we’re told the crew loved working with her AND she also tested highest in focus groups.
Our sources say several Sony execs were “very interested” in Mayim for hosting duties on the daily syndicated program, but because of her other commitments — she stars and executive produces “Call Me Kat” on FOX, and hosts a podcast — they knew it wasn’t going to be possible.
Instead of the full workload, Richards got the nod and Bialik eventually signed on for prime time showcases on ABC. That came amid a backlash against Richards, and Bialik’s own shaky relationship with vaccines sparked new controversy when her selection was made public as well. But as the report details, it was their “love” of Bialik and her work on the show that made them come up with the split hosting concept in the first place.
Despite all of the backlash the show has seen, Bialik being their first pick makes sense considering how well she performed during her fortnight on the stage. And while some busy people like Aaron Rodgers wanted very much to make the Jeopardy! workload work amid their other obligations, this seems to indicate Bialik wasn’t ready to upend her life in order to get the job.
Considering the outcry every decision the show has made has seen from some very vocal fans, well, that seems pretty reasonable. But it certainly does add a new wrinkle to what’s been a tough week for the people who make one of the most beloved game shows on TV.