Mayim Bialik on why she's only met 'Jeopardy!' co-host Ken Jennings once

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Mayim Bialik has co-hosted Jeopardy! with Ken Jennings for nearly a year, but, surprisingly, they've met just once.

In an interview on the Life is Short with Justin Long podcast, Bialik talked about hosting the iconic game show in the wake of Alex Trebek's 2020 death. While she's been sharing the job with Jennings since last September following Mike Richards's abrupt exit — and that will seemingly continue in the future — they do so very separately.

"We've met once," Bialik replied when asked how she and Jennings get along.

She went on to explain that, "Because of the 'vid," that would be COVID-19, producers "are very strict about who's there. When he's there, he's there. When I'm there, I'm there."

The only time they were together was "when they dedicated the stage to Alex," who died from pancreatic cancer. And now, it all seems like ages ago.

"At that time, Mike Richards had just been announced" as show host with Bialik hired to host a series of ABC primetime specials, including Jeopardy! National College Championship, and a potential spinoff series. Jennings, who also auditioned for the hosting job, was a consulting producer on the show.

Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik  have been tag-teaming as Jeopardy! hosts since last year. (Photo: AP Photo)
Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik have been tag-teaming as Jeopardy! hosts since last year. (Photo: AP Photo)

She said there was "this weird photo of all of us." A week after Richards was named host, he stepped down due to resurfaced offensive comments.

While her face-to-face interaction with Jennings has been limited, "I look forward to getting to spending more time with him," she said. "He's obviously a legend and an icon and incredibly significant in the history of Jeopardy!" with the show's most consecutive wins.

Bialik, who stars in Call Me Kat in addition to her Jeopardy! job, added, "He's a level of Jeopardy! smart — I mean, literally you can't touch that. He's unbelievable."

Despite her impressive education background, she said she probably "couldn't even ring in on time if I was up there" competing. "I would end up being removed from the podium probably crying."

Bialik also talked about not watching the game show growing up.

"I can't lie — I was not raised watching Jeopardy!," she said. "We didn't do that as a family. I obviously knew what Jeopardy! was," noting Trebek was on an episode of Blossom, the show she starred in as a child, quipping. "How do you like that for a crossover?"

Bialik's mom was especially unaware of how the game show worked. After her first appearance, "She literally texted me: 'Why is everything in a question?' She didn't realize. That's how much my mother had never seen Jeopardy!"

She also talked about how her mom gives her feedback on how she looks hosting the show — as only a mom can.

"Certain outfits she really loves so she will take a photo of her television, text it to me and say like: 'Love the color!'" But Bialik noted that when she zooms in on the photo, she usually has the "most horrendous facial expression."

The temporary co-hosting arrangement with Bialik and Jennings is expected to be made permanent. On Monday, Deadline reported that are finalizing deals to continue as co-hosts. Sony Pictures TV, which produces Jeopardy!, hasn't made an announcement.

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