Mayim Bialik And Ken Jennings Revealed The Toughest Part About Hosting ‘Jeopardy!’

Following in the footsteps of Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy! is one of the toughest jobs in show business. Trebek was a master of all things on the game show’s set, managing everything from the cadence of the game itself to writing his own clue categories. Following that up after decades of excellence is no small feat.

Fans of the show are obsessively attentive to details, traditions and the rules. And basically everyone had an opinion on who should replace Trebek as full-time host. We’ve seen one pick already flame out spectacularly: Mike Richards lasted just days as the official pick until controversy saw him exit in shame.

By now, though, fans have settled in with a pair of hosts: Mayim Bialik and Greatest Of All Time winner Jen Kennings. And as Season 39 approaches, the two do finally seem at ease with the decision to have them split hosting duties. They’ve also been honest about the challenges stepping into the spotlight have presented.

On the Inside Jeopardy! podcast (via TODAY), both hosts discussed their struggles in adapting to the role they now share. For Jennings, who some feel was picked at one time as Trebek’s successor, much of the struggle has come from the high expectations Trebek’s work ethic has left behind.

“I watched Alex do it up close and I couldn’t understand the kind of ease and grace because you’re doing so many things at once,” he said. “You’re trying to run the show for the contestants, you’re part of the game just like the writers of the board, but you’re also trying to interpret it for the folks at home. So it’s like you’re a sportscaster, almost. And it goes so fast.”

The speed of the game’s pace and the tight taping schedule also came up with Bialik, who has seen far more criticism from fans in her guest hosting appearances.

“I think people don’t realize how many things you’re calculating because you want to move things along,” Bialik said on the podcast. “You also want to give things their fair weight. Also there’s someone in your ear and there’s many opportunities for, ‘Oh, my gosh, that was the wrong thing to say.’”

Bialik noted that there’s “a lot of editing” available to correct mistakes and fix pacing. But she admitted that the margin for error feels much smaller for her at times.

“I feel like if I make a mistake, even if we can go back and edit it, it feels very embarrassing, because I think people are like, ‘Oh, she’s a celebrity’ or ‘Oh, she’s got a PhD. She shouldn’t make simple math errors,’” Bialik said. “But sometimes I do it and it’s very stressful.”

The full discussion is fascinating for anyone who has watched the succession battle play out in the public eye. Now that things are largely settled, both Jennings and Bialik seem much more at ease in discussing their individual struggles and reflect on the role. And while we won’t often see them on stage at the same time next season, it’s clear both hosts have a lot of common ground when it comes to approaching one of the biggest jobs in syndication.

(Via Today)