Here's When Mayim Bialik Could Return to "Jeopardy," Sources Say
Contrary to previous reports, she might not be done with her hosting duties for good.
The question of who'll be behind the Jeopardy! podium has been a hot topic since the passing of iconic host Alex Trebek in 2020. First, the show introduced a series of guest hosts. Then producers gave former champ Ken Jennings and actor Mayim Bialik the job as full-time co-hosts. Things switched up again, however, with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, which began in May and prompted Bialik to step down from Jeopardy! to stand in solidarity with writers. Because the Blossom star has yet to return, fans have speculated about her future on the show—but now, sources say she could be back quizzing contestants sooner than expected. Read on for the latest update.
Bialik spoke out for the first time last week.
The WGA strike finally concluded on Sept. 24; however, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike—Bialik is also a member of that union—has been ongoing since July. Late last week, Bialik finally broke her silence for the first time since departing Jeopardy! And while she didn't address the strikes or the show specifically, she did share her opinion on unions.
"There's a lot of complexity to this, but my general statement is always that I come from a union family," Bialik told Vanity Fair. "My grandparents were immigrants who worked in sweatshops, and my parents were public school teachers. While it's not for me to personally judge anyone else's decision, for me, I am a union supporter—pretty much all unions and what they fight for."
She concluded, "I believe in that system even if it's not perfect. I believe in getting educated about why people strike and what they're striking for."
It was previously rumored she wouldn't return until next year.
Sources speculated that because of Bialik's views on unions and picket lines, she wouldn't return until both the WGA and the SAG-AFTRA strikes had ended.
"Mayim is choosing to stand with the actors like she did the writers and won't cross the picket lines," a source told The Messenger in August. "She hopes to return to Jeopardy! as soon as the strike has been resolved."
The source also suggested that Bialik wouldn't be back until 2024, as she's "choosing to stand with her union." They continued, "Because of that, she was told it is unlikely she will return for the rest of the year, even if the strike is resolved before then."
But now, new information suggests Bialik could be back around the holidays.
Bialik may return in December.
According to TVLine, the Champions Wildcard tournament, which is currently underway, will wrap up on Monday, Dec. 18. The tournament was introduced in light of the WGA strike, featuring former players from Season 37 and Season 38 answering recycled questions (an approach that previously garnered some criticism).
But with the strike over and WGA writers officially back to work, Jeopardy! can return to a sense of normalcy. In fact, in response to Best Life's request for comment, Sony Pictures Television confirmed new WGA-written material will be used for the Season 39 postseason, which was originally meant to kick off Season 40.
While Sony has yet to announce official airdates and details, given Champions Wildcard ends on Dec. 18, TVLine speculated that the Season 39 postseason could air as early as Tuesday, Dec. 19. At that time, Bialik would presumably be reintegrated into the hosting schedule, the outlet reported.
Jennings will continue at the helm for now.
While Bialik's fans would gladly welcome her back this year, TVLine noted that the Season 39 postseason could be delayed until the week of Jan. 1—if producers choose to fill the end of 2023 with reruns—aligning with previous rumors that Bialik won't be back until 2024.
It's also worth noting that episodes are usually filmed about three months in advance, but that timeline can be shorter for tournaments. If Bialik is hosting the Season 39 Second Chance tournament, which is supposed to kick off the postseason, she would need to be behind the podium relatively soon.
As of right now, however, we can expect to see Jennings holding down the fort for at least these next few months.