While we anxiously await the final decision about who will replace the host with the most, Alex Trebek, on Jeopardy!, we're in a bizarre holding pattern between two hosts. In one corner, we have former Jeopardy! mega champion Ken Jennings.
In the other, Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actor. For the past seven weeks, Mayim has been behind the podium, but Ken has returned. Is Mayim coming back? We have to know: Where is Mayim Bialik on Jeopardy!?
Where is Mayim Bialik on 'Jeopardy!'?
It was already established that Mayim and Ken would be splitting up the hosting duties for the remainder of 2021, but since Mayim has been behind the podium for the past seven weeks, fans of the show are already missing her. The division of time is based entirely on their schedules, so it's possible that Mayim had something come up and had to step away.
In an interview with The New York Times in October 2021, Mayim said she was making some changes to the way she hosted the show this season. She began wearing less bright colors, favoring blues. She said, “I didn’t want to be distracting — like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s that lady!' I think a lot about Jeopardy! just needs to be very neutral to pleasant."
In September 2021, the show announced that Mayim would continue as host through Nov. 5. Moving forward, she and Ken would split hosting duties through the end of the year. So, Ken's reappearance should not come as a surprise.
Mayim is a bit of a controversial figure.
In October 2017, Mayim penned an op-ed in The New York Times titled, "Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World." In it, she wrote about how she chooses to dress modestly. Mayim also doesn't "act flirtatiously with men as a policy," and while she later stated that the predators are always to blame, this definitely came off as victim-blaming.
Mayim is also a spokesperson for Neuriva, a brain supplement. Gary Wenk Ph.D., in a Psychology Today article about Neuriva and similar supplements, said, "I do not doubt that the purveyors of this harmless new elixir will make lots of money. The question is why people still fall for this pseudoscience?"
The company that makes Neuriva, Reckitt Benckiser, was later sued in a class-action case. Plaintiffs claimed there was no evidence supporting the supplement's claims. Mayim remains an endorser.
Still, Mayim is committed to doing the job of hosting Jeopardy! with respect. When asked about the departure of Mike Richards, who, among other things, made an antisemitic comment, Mayim refused to comment, saying, "It further potentially complicates any discussion about trying to return to a state of normalcy for Jeopardy! And so I’m kind of respectfully choosing not to talk about it.”
Unfortunately, we have no idea when the new permanent host of Jeopardy! will be announced. It could be Ken, or Mayim, or a third mystery person. Perhaps it's fitting that a show that revolves around answers in the form of questions is leaving its fans with the biggest question of them all.
Jeopardy! airs weekdays at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.