Why Mayim Bialik Is a Better "Jeopardy!" Host Than Ken Jennings, According to Fans
The Jeopardy! hosts are constantly compared, but some say Bialik is a better fit for the job.
After longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away in Nov. 2020, a number of different hosts took turns behind the podium. But in July 2022, producers finally announced that former champ Ken Jennings and actor Mayim Bialik were officially taking over and splitting hosting duties. The two have switched off—Bialik is currently hosting the Jeopardy! High School Reunion Tournament through March 9, with Jennings returning on Friday—but some would prefer producers pick one or the other.
On social media, the chatter about the hosts is nonstop: While neutral parties say the debate is unkind and takes away from the game, other fans refuse to budge from either camp. Jennings certainly has his fair share of fans, but there are those who claim Bialik is more equipped to lead. Read on to find out why some Jeopardy! devotees say that the former Blossom star is a better host than Jennings.
She's similar to Trebek.
While several fans compare Jennings' hosting style to Trebek's demeanor, other viewers say that Bialik is also close to her iconic predecessor.
"She's a calming, professional, witty host that follows the steps of Trebek," a March 1 tweet reads, conceding that Bialik isn't perfect, but shouldn't be a target of so much negativity.
"Personally, I like Mayim Bialik a little more as host but i do not hate Ken's hosting either," another tweet reads. "Both sharing host duties is great for them and Us because they have time for their other projects and we get two talents. We all miss Alex Trebek but got 2 for 1."
A tweet from June 2021 also alleges that Trebek might have preferred Bialik as his successor. "I read somewhere that Alex thought that the next host of Jeopardy should be a woman," a fan wrote. "I don't think you will find a better one than Mayim Bialik."
There's no denying that Jennings is brainy—after all, he holds the record for the most consecutive Jeopardy! games won (74) and the highest winnings during regular-season play ($2,520,700). But Bialik is intelligent in her own right: She's a doctor of neuroscience and authored two New York Times bestselling books. (Although, her book on parenting did stir up some controversy due to her stance on vaccinations.)
Fans who prefer Bialik continue to champion her smarts.
"Mayim Bialik is a charming & knowledgeable jeopardy host!" a fan tweeted on Feb. 28, calling on critics to "stop with the hate!" The viewer added, "She's as good if not better than Jennings!"
Back in May 2021, long before she was officially given co-hosting duties, her fans were already commending her skill. "Mayim Bialik is doing great! Smart, controlled and confident. One of the best cohosts by far #Jeopardy," a fan wrote.
In response, the same Twitter user who said Trebek would've wanted Bialik as his successor wrote, "She is the best so far. She is very very smart and should be the permanent host of Jeopardy!"
TV host Britt McHenry also cited Bialik's quick wit in Feb. 2022. "Mayim Bialik, aka the actress who played Blossom in the 90s & who is incredibly smart, is by FAR the best @Jeopardy replacement host," McHenry tweeted, calling for her to be a full-time host.
She has better banter with contestants.
One thing that Trebek really excelled at was interacting with Jeopardy! contestants. His sarcasm and comedic timing were always on point, but he had a way of letting his kindness shine through. Bialik fans say that she can also go back and forth with the players, unlike Jennings.
"Mayim Bialik seems like a lovely person and IMO she is a good #Jeopardy host. Her voice is nice and she gets the contestant banter right," a Twitter user wrote on Feb. 22. "These are two things you CAN'T say of Ken Jennings."
Another wrote that Bialik is able to recognize the stress surrounding the game. "#MayimBialik is a fun host that encourages participation and acknowledges the difficulty the contestants are experiencing," a March 7 tweet reads.
It's worth noting that many allege Bialik is unfairly "held to a higher standard"—and potentially subject to misogyny when compared with her male co-host. In fact, she's even nitpicked for her wardrobe choices.
In response to a tweet stating that Jennings is better at going back and forth with contestants, a Bialik fan wrote, "Agree to disagree…Mayim Bialik's banter is natural and not labored as some other guest hosts in the past…."
Overall, some fans just find Bialik likable. Critics love to point out the pauses she takes before telling a contestant whether they're right or wrong, but that's not as big of an issue for those who prefer her behind the podium. After all, they find her both "warm" and "talented."
A clip published on the official Jeopardy! Facebook page documented one sweet exchange where a High School Reunion Tournament contestant confessed that Bialik was his first celebrity crush.
"This was a long time ago, Mayim, but when I was a little kid, I saw you on TV, and I really admired how you played, like, a super awesome scientist," contestant Dan Oxman shared, referencing her role on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
When Oxman found out that she was a scientist with a doctorate in the real world, he was even more impressed, making a gesture indicating that his mind was blown. "And you haven't aged a day," Oxman added for good measure.
Bialik laughed and thanked Oxman, but it was during the commercial break that she really showed her sweet side, posing for a series of funny photos with the contestant.
"That was a sweet moment," one fan commented. Others simply said, "she's the sweetest" and "so cute!"
Speaking about Bialik in general, another Jeopardy! viewer wrote, "Dan isn't the only one who admires that brains and beauty of Mayim Bialik."