For greater than a yr, there was one query that fans of “Jeopardy!” could never appear to get a transparent answer to: Who would succeed its popular longtime host Alex Trebek after his death, becoming the brand new face of the favored quiz show?
First got here a rotating forged of temporary hosts — including LeVar Burton, who had a legion of online fans boosting him because the everlasting alternative, and Mehmet Oz, a star doctor who followed his hosting stint with a bid for U.S. Senate. Then, the show announced its succession plan — its executive producer, Mike Richards, would take over as host throughout the regular season, while Mayim Bialik would tape prime-time specials. That plan imploded after revelations that Richards had made offensive comments on a podcast.
To fill the hosting vacuum, this system then turned to Bialik and to the previous champion Ken Jennings, asking them to fill in temporarily and split hosting duties. It was a brief arrangement that got prolonged, and on Wednesday, the show made it everlasting, choosing the establishment slightly than one other major shake-up.
“I write today with the exciting news that we’ve closed and signed deals with Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings to be the hosts of ‘Jeopardy!’ moving forward,” the show’s executive producer, Michael Davies, wrote in an announcement posted to the show’s website.
The rationale for 2 hosts, he explained, was the show’s rapidly expanding brand, which incorporates a “Celebrity Jeopardy!” spinoff and a Second Likelihood tournament that invites standout contestants back to compete.
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“The actual fact is, we’ve a lot ‘Jeopardy!’ to make, and so many plans for the long run, that we at all times knew we would wish multiple hosts for the franchise,” Davies wrote.
Jennings will likely be hosting the regular season shows through December, and Bialik will take over in January, in accordance with the announcement.
In a gesture to the show’s loyal but vocal fan base, Davies sought to provide them some reassurances: “We all know you value consistency, so we won’t flip-flop the hosts consistently and can keep you informed in regards to the hosting schedule.”
But while the show was struggling to search out its footing behind the scenes, it continued to generate excitement — and rankings — with a series of star contestants. Inside only one season, 4 recent champions were added to the show’s all-time leaderboard, fueling loads of theorizing amongst fans about what was behind the brand new streak of winning streaks. For some time, the growing celebrity of the winning contestants — including Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach — offered a welcome distraction from the dearth of clarity around who would turn into the everlasting face of the show.
Jennings stays the champion with the very best variety of consecutive wins (74) and the very best amount of cash won in regular-season games ($2.5 million) within the show’s history. Bialik, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is best known for her role as a scientist within the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” has made clear from the start that she is interested by getting the job permanently, though she has needed to balance it with the demands of her sitcom “Call Me Kat,” and faced criticism for endorsing a “brain health complement” for a corporation that settled a lawsuit accusing it of false promoting. Jennings has also received criticism for old social media posts, apologizing for tweeting “unartful and insensitive things” after he was initially revealed as a “Jeopardy!” guest host following Trebek’s death.
After Richards’s departure, Davies, a veteran game-show producer who developed the unique American version of “Who Desires to Be a Millionaire?,” took over temporarily as executive producer — and that job, too, soon became everlasting.
Under Davies, the show has worked to expand beyond its traditional structure and to cater to its passionate fans, announcing every day statistics for every contestant and, on Wednesday, a recent podcast.
And there are more specials coming. Bialik will host “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” which debuts on ABC in September, while Jennings will host the primary Second Likelihood Tournament, in addition to the upcoming Tournament of Champions. In his announcement, Davies hinted that there may very well be more spinoffs ahead, noting that Bialik would also host a pair of latest tournaments, along with the faculty championship.