Mayim Bialik Opened Up About How ‘Jeopardy!’ Producers Have Asked Her To Switch Up Her On-Air Approach

Following the tragic passing of iconic Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik emerged as a fan favorite, and reportedly, was almost offered the top spot before executive producer Mike Richards essentially took it for himself, causing a fiasco for the beloved game show. However, since then, Bialik has been hosting Jeopardy! specials and occasionally filling in for Ken Jennings as the show takes its time picking Trebek’s successor once and for all. (Despite initially not wanting to be the permanent host because of her busy schedule, Bialik is reportedly still in the mix for the full-time gig.)

In a lengthy interview with The Daily Beast to promote her directorial debut, As They Made Us, starring Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen, Bialik revealed what it was like to experience the chaotic hosting mess and how the Jeopardy! producers have been helping her fill Trebek’s shoes behind the podium (by calming down a little), which is no easy task:

The role of Jeopardy! host carries a lot of authority. You’re viewed as a bastion of truth. Does that burden weigh on you?

I think as a woman there’s a special consideration, because when women sound definitive or stern it’s a different message than when men sound definitive or stern. And a lot of times when people will say, “Oh, you sound like you think you know it all,” I’ll think, gosh, that’s just because I’m using an affirmative voice. One of the neat things about having a woman in this role is it’s bringing up a lot of questions about the labels we put on those things. One of my biggest challenges is I’m so impressed that people know the answers that they’ve asked me to tone down how excited I am when people get them right, which I think is s a great note to get.

Claire McNear, who wrote a book on Jeopardy! and the article about Mike Richards that got eventually got him booted, called the above excerpt to attention.

Bialik also touched on the controversy regarding her prior vaccine skepticism — this was a full decade before COVID, by the way, and she got the jab — which was a topic that eventually engulfed Aaron Rodgers, who was also one of the top Jeopardy! guest hosts. Mayim may have been partially referencing those issues in the below excerpt.

“We have the complete ability to have access to people, and as I’ve experienced, you can have people pass around a piece of information that’s not true on Twitter and it can grow exponentially,” Bialik said. “I think Jeopardy! was a perfect example of all the things that can go wrong in terms of social media and the handling by social media of certain information that normally people would know very little about.”

(Via The Daily Beast)