In a statement provided to Fox News, Sony Pictures Television confirmed the former “Big Bang Theory” actress will fill in as the host of the show for its regular syndicated programming this week now that Richards is out.
Bialik will tape three weeks of episodes this week ahead of the show announcing yet another round of guest hosts that will buy the studio time to figure out who it wants to be the new permanent host.
Alex Trebek was the host of the popular game show for 37 years before he died in November of 2020 after a lengthy and public battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Richards and Bialik were part of a litany of celebrity guest hosts that included LeVar Burton, Anderson Cooper, Aaron Rodgers and many more.
Mayim Bialik will temporarily fill in for Mike Richards as the host of ‘Jeopardy!’ (Getty Images)
When Richards was announced as the new host of regular gameplay, it was revealed that the “Call Me Kat” actress had agreed to headline an upcoming crop of spinoff and special event games such as the upcoming “Jeopardy! National College Championship” at ABC. It seems those ideas haven’t changed, she’s merely expanded her role as the first returning guest host.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Jeopardy! family. What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I’m so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I’m just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we’ve had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!” Bialik said at the time of her initial announcement as the host.
The show has clearly had to do some quick scrambling to keep production on schedule after Richards announced Friday that he is stepping down as the host after previous inappropriate comments he made on a podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014 resurfaced.
In a statement shared with Fox News by Sony Entertainment, Richards not only quit the hosting gig a little more than a week after he was announced, but he also apologized for the past comments that resurfaced.
“Dear Team – It pains me that these past incidents and comments have cast such a shadow on Jeopardy! as we look to start a new chapter,” he wrote in a statement released by Sony.
“As I mentioned last week, I was deeply honored to be asked to host the syndicated show and was thrilled by the opportunity to expand my role,” he shared. “However, over the last several days it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show. As such, I will be stepping down as host effective immediately. As a result, we will be canceling production today.”
“SPT will now resume the search for a permanent syndicated host,” he continued. “In the meantime, we will be bringing back guest hosts to continue production for the new season, details of which will be announced next week.”
“I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to Jeopardy! over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing,” Richards concluded. “I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence.”
Sony officials told Fox News on Friday that they “support Mike’s decision to step down as host.”
“We were surprised this week to learn of Mike’s 2013/2014 podcast and the offensive language he used in the past. We have spoken with him about our concerns and our expectations moving forward,” Sony said in a statement. “Mike has been with us for the last two years and has led the Jeopardy! team through the most challenging time the show has ever experienced. It is our hope that as EP he will continue to do so with professionalism and respect.”
It’s unclear who the show will tap next to be either a guest host or a replacement for Richards. It’s possible Bialik is in the running, which is why they tapped her first to fill in. Other possibilities include LeVar Burton, who continues to have the support of many fans as well as Ryan Reynolds to take over.