Ken Jennings Can ‘Understand’ Why ‘Jeopardy!’ Brass Decided To They Only Needed One Host (Not Mayim Bialik, Who He Praised)

For about two-and-a-half years, Jeopardy! fans got the pleasure of watching not one host but two, with Ken Jennings alternating with Mayim Bialik. And so it went until last December, when the quiz show’s brass decided they only needed one — and it wasn’t Bialik. There’s been much speculation about why they nixed the Blossom vet (who’s working on a more serious revival), but in a new interview with USA Today (as caught by The Daily Beast), Jennings claims there’s a more simple explanation: viewers want one host.

“It’s part of the ritual of their day, and they want to tune in and know what they’re going to see and not wonder, ‘Oh, which host do I see tonight?’” Jennings speculated. And I do understand that.”

Jennings made sure to praise Bialik’s hosting abilities. “You could tell she was just a born performer, very confident on stage in a way that I was not at first. I learned a lot from watching her, and I really enjoyed her hosting,” he said. “But I do understand — there’s a reason why TV shows don’t tend to have two hosts.”

A report by Puck in December claimed there may have been more drama behind the scenes:

Sony TV executive Suzanne Prete and executive producer Michael Davies were furious when Bialik said in May that she would step away from the final week of filming last season in solidarity with the show’s striking writers. After all, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are well-oiled machines, requiring precise timing to make the show’s five-episodes-a-day schedule. Plus, Bialik wasn’t loved on set, and Sony had switched up shooting that season to accommodate her Fox sitcom, Call Me Kat.

Whatever the case, Jennings is now the official her to the show’s legendary host Alex Trebek, who passed away in 2020. For the following year-and-a-half, Jeopardy! found a revolving door of guest hosts, including Jennings, Bialik, as well as LeVar Burton and — odd as this may seem now after some of his anticsAaron Rodgers.

(Via USA Today and The Daily Beast)