Mayim Bialik Is Leaving "Jeopardy!" Early This Season—Here's Why
Her co-host Ken Jennings is reportedly returning for the final week of filming.
The host of Jeopardy! has an integral role in gameplay, which is why fans are so opinionated about who's behind the podium. Beloved longtime host Alex Trebek was at the helm for 37 seasons, but after his death in 2020, actor Mayim Bialik and former champ Ken Jennings were passed the torch as alternating co-hosts. Bialik was set to take her turn as host for the remainder of the syndicated season, which ends July 28. But now, the plan has reportedly changed. Read on to find out why Bialik is leaving the show early.
The Blossom actor is reportedly standing in solidarity with writers.
Bialik is stepping away from Jeopardy! in light of the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, Deadline first reported.
While the outlet notes that the clues for the remainder of the current Jeopardy! season were already written before the strike began, some of the show's writers are standing on the picket line. Speaking with Variety, writer Billy Wisse said they're fighting for general rights to be "fairly compensated for the labor you give."
The writers recognized that they're fortunate to be employed by a year-round show. However, another Jeopardy! writer, Michele Loud, told Variety that it's their words "on the screen every night," and "there is no Jeopardy! without writers. Without us it's just an empty blue screen."
Best Life reached out to Bialik's representatives for comment on her decision to stand in solidarity with writers, and will update the story upon hearing back.
Jennings will host this season's final episodes.
Several late-night talk shows and scripted TV shows have gone of the air entirely due to the walkout, but Jeopardy! will continue its run.
As a result of Bialik's decision, Jennings is reportedly filling in as host for the remainder of the season, which only has one week left of filming to complete, per Deadline. The final episodes are set to be filmed at the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California, between May 16 and May 19.
Jennings is currently also behind the podium hosting the Jeopardy! Masters primetime spin-off competition, which concludes on Wednesday, May 24.
Not everyone is thrilled to welcome Jennings back.
While viewers typically welcome Jennings' return, the Jeopardy! champ caught some flak for reportedly deciding to host in Bialik's stead.
Many have taken to Twitter to air their grievances, dubbing Jennings a "scab" (a person who crosses a picket line and works during a strike).
"Sad sad sad when a scab hosts jeopardy," one tweet reads.
Another viewer added, "You know a lot of things @KenJennings but I guess you never learned not to cross the picket line. No matter what."
Others referenced Trebek, saying he "would never" decide to host during an ongoing strike.
Best Life also reached out to representatives for Jennings, and will update the story when we hear back.
Bialik isn't the only one taking a stand.
The writers' strike began on May 2, per the Associated Press, with writers making several demands, including higher wages, protection from the use of artificial intelligence (AI), and more upfront fees to compensate for losses tied to streaming services.
Several celebrities have voiced their support of the strike, also taking action to stand in solidarity.
Drew Barrymore opted out of hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards due to the strike, while both Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers said they would personally pay their staff a portion of their pay during the strike.
Others showed their support on the picket line itself. Comedian and actor Pete Davidson handed out pizza to writers on the line, Entertainment Weekly reported, and the band Imagine Dragons performed for protesters in front of Netflix's headquarters in Los Angeles.