Amid its search for a new permanent host, Jeopardy! is deploying Mayim Bialik to temporarily replace the embattled Mike Richards on the daily syndicated edition.
Bialik will serve as emcee for three weeks beginning Monday, Sept. 20. “As we move forward with production on this season of Jeopardy!, additional guest hosts will be announced,” a Sony rep says. Bialik’s 15 episodes will tape this week. As reported earlier this month, the Big Bang Theory vet will host any/all primetime and spinoff editions of the quiz show.
On Friday, scandal-plagued Richards announced via an internal memo to staff that he would not succeed Alex Trebek as host of the long-running game show as planned.
“As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role,” Richards wrote. “However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately.”
He referred to the recent resurfacing of misogynistic, racist and anti-semitic jokes he told on a podcast that ran from 2013 to 2014, as well as his involvement in discrimination allegations and lawsuits related to incidents during his run as executive producer on The Price Is Right.
Richards, who is staying on as EP, mentioned that the show’s search for a full-time host will continue, and that viewers should expect to see more guests hosts at the podium — similar to the cavalcade of tryouts that led up to the announcement of Richards as daily host.
Richards shot five Jeopardy! episodes before announcing his departure; those episodes will air as planned the week of Sept. 13, which serves as Season 38’s kickoff. Bialik takes over Sept. 20.
According to sources, Bialik’s Call Me Kat duties preclude her from succeeding Richards as full-time host.
Who would you choose as Richards’ permanent replacement? Vote here!