In November of 2020, the world was saddened to hear about the passing of Alex Trebek after his long battle with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
Trebek hosted “Jeopardy!” for thirty-seven years, taking it from an unknown quiz show to one of the most well-known shows on syndicated television today. In this time, he became loved by countless Americans. I like to joke that Trebek was an American treasure, even though he was from Canada.
Since his death, people around the world have wondered who would be Trebek’s replacement. Immediately following his death, several journalists, TV personalities, athletes and even former “Jeopardy!” contestants hosted the show for short periods of time.
In August 2021, it was announced that Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik would take over permanently, with Richards hosting the daily syndicated shows while Bialik would host primetime spinoffs.
Nine days after this new arrangement was announced, and after just one day of filming, Richards stepped away from the role because of past comments and controversy.
Once again, the world is anxiously waiting on who will be the next new host of the quiz show, and everyone has their own ideas about who it should be. Me? I believe “Jeopardy!” has already found its new host, and she’s hosting it as we speak.
For the next host of “Jeopardy!”, I’ll take Mayim Bialik for $2,000.
Many know Mayim Bialik for her role on the 90’s sitcom “Blossom,” and more recently for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory.”
After her early acting work, Bialik attended UCLA, where she received a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies. She also received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the same school in 2007.
If that means nothing to you, just know that she’s pretty smart. I’d say that’s important for a host of a quiz show.
Bialik was called in to host two weeks of “Jeopardy!” during the initial run of guest hosts, and received praise for her stint on the show.
I watched many of the guest hosts during their time at the podium and Bialik stood out to me, as well as many others watching. She was a natural at not only giving clues, but also making the game entertaining.
She has also shown a genuine love for the game. During her original time as guest host, she performed her duties with a smile and an enthusiasm that, while present in the other hosts, wasn’t always up to the same level as hers.
While others attempted to downplay their excitement while they were actually hosting, Bialik embraced it, and that made her even better at the job.
In today’s world, people are hoping to find a completely unproblematic person to host the show to keep from offending anyone. Let’s face it though: no one is going to be unproblematic, especially if they have been in the public eye like Bialik has.
The world of the internet has allowed people to dig deep and find anything and everything that could prove to be an issue about someone. Anything a person has ever said online will be found, and as such, will be scrutinized.
Yes, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. What Mike Richards did and said was not acceptable. His treatment of women who have worked on shows with him paints a picture of a man who shouldn’t have been in the position he was. Not only did he make these comments, but he fired a model on “The Price is Right” because she became pregnant.
This is a line that people of influence should never cross. In his mistreatment of women, he crossed it. I don’t believe that Bialik crossed that line.
Bialik has been most criticized for her stance on vaccinations. She stated in an interview that she was not vaccinating her kids. People around the globe criticized her for this. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, she stated that she has since reversed this decision, and that she and her children would be receiving both flu and COVID-19 shots.
People also argue that Bialik just isn’t a good fit for the role. I disagree. After thirty-seven years of a show with the same host, no one will compare to Alex Trebek, especially not right at the start. Trebek had all this time to grow more comfortable with the position. Given just a fraction of that time, I believe Bialik, or anyone that may be chosen, will grow into the role as well.
For a show as intertwined with American culture as “Jeopardy!” I think it’s important to have a host that has all of the qualities Bialik has shown behind the podium.
Bialik’s calm and collected enthusiasm she brings to the role, her knowledge of the world and her natural ability behind the podium, in my eyes, make her the perfect fit to not only be the next host of “Jeopardy!” but to take it into a new era.
In a world full of uncertainty, “Jeopardy!” has always been a constant. For me, it came on at 7:30 right after “Wheel of Fortune.” No matter what else was going on in my life, I could sit down and watch my favorite game show for thirty minutes with my family and appreciate that time for what it was: calm family time where I didn’t have to worry about anything else.
The team behind “Jeopardy!” knows that there are countless others that feel the same way I do. While I believe that Mayim Bialik is the best choice to be the next host, I have full confidence that whoever may be chosen after the utmost care and consideration has been taken will be an exceptional host.
Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.