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"Jeopardy!" Producer Reveals Why Mayim Was Fired: "Forced Into" Having Co-Hosts

Mayim Bialik announced in December that she would no longer host the syndicated show.

For two years, Jeopardy! had two main hosts, but the compromise didn't come without its ups and downs. Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik first began sharing hosting duties in 2021 after Jeopardy! executive producer and short-lived host Mike Richards stepped down amid controversy. Then, in May 2023, Bialik stopped hosting the show in solidarity first with the Writers Guild of America strike, and then also the Screen Actors Guild strike.

From there, it was unclear when or if she would return, and in December, fans got their answer: Bialik was fired from hosting syndicated Jeopardy!, and a statement from the show explained that she was booted in the name of maintaining "continuity for viewers." Some fans speculated, however, that the decision had to do with Bialik's political views or her support of the strikes.

RELATED: Jeopardy! Producer Defends "Hard to Watch" On-Air Moment.

Now, Jeopardy! executive producer Michael Davies has spoken out about why Bialik will no longer be hosting syndicated Jeopardy! and about her potential future with the show. The producer again cited continuity as the main reason for only having one host, but he also revealed that the show was "forced into" having two hosts in the first place.

"When I took over the show, we were forced into that situation," Davies said during a panel at the ABC Television Critics Association winter 2024 press tour, according to Variety. "Over the past two and a half seasons, what we've heard from a lot of from television stations and other interested parties is that they wanted more consistency. They wanted a single host."

Michael Davies at HRTS' "Broadcasting Reality: Show Me the Money!" Newsmaker Luncheon
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

When Richards was named the host of the syndicated show in August 2021, Bialik was named the host of primetime specials. So, when Richards was out after only a week, the syndicated slot was full. The show announced in September 2021 that Jennings and Bialik would split the role as temporary hosts. Their roles became permanent in the summer of 2022.

The producer was quick to praise Bialik, dispelling any rumors that she lost the job for performance reasons.

"Mayim is a superb host," Davies said at the Television Critics Association event. "We hope to continue working with her on primetime versions—this conversation is ongoing."

As noted by Variety, Davies previously shared a different opinion about Jeopardy! having two hosts. He told the publication in June 2022, "[W]ith all of our plans for Jeopardy!—which is more Jeopardy!, not less, more versions—we're going to need multiple hosts to represent the entire audience, to represent the entire country, in order to take this franchise forward."

Bialik announced that she had been fired from hosting syndicated Jeopardy! in December 2023. In a statement posted on social media, she wrote, "As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some Jeopardy! news. Sony informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy! I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Jeopardy! family. For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America's Favorite Quiz Show, thank you."

A spokesperson for Jeopardy! then told Best Life in a statement, "Mayim Bialik has announced she will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy! We made the decision to have one host for the syndicated show next season to maintain continuity for our viewers, and Ken Jennings will be the sole host for syndicated Jeopardy! We are truly grateful for all of Mayim's contributions to Jeopardy!, and we hope to continue to work with her on primetime specials."

Recently, Jennings has been hosting the ongoing primetime series Celebrity Jeopardy! after taking over for Bialik amid the industry strikes. He spoke out about the news of her firing not long after she shared it.

"It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I'm gonna miss her," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I can't speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it. But on my end, I'm just a fan of Jeopardy! and I'm always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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