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Mayim Bialik Gets Candid About The Jeopardy! Hosting Controversy

On January 8, 2021, the final episode of "Jeopardy!" with Alex Trebek as host aired. It had been two months since Trebek had tragically passed away after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer, and as long-time fans mourned the loss of the quiz show icon, there was a question hanging in the air: Who could possibly take Trebek's place as host of "Jeopardy!"?

It's been nearly a year. As stunned and resistant to Trebek's potential replacement as many of us were, did any of us imagine back then what an absolute circus the process of finding a new "Jeopardy!" host would become? First, there was the parade of guest hosts which fans debated the merits of, then we found our regular host in the form of executive producer Mike Richards, only for multiple controversies to force him out of both producing and hosting just as he formally started the hosting gig. None of that even touches on the "will he or won't he" saga of Levar Burton.

We know that long-time contestant Ken Jennings will take on part-time responsibility as host, but the only consistent person to both get and keep the job is Mayim Bialik. People keep asking her how she feels about this very labored vetting process, and she's finally opened up on how she really feels about the entire strange affair.

Mayim Bialik wants to put the focus back on the contestants

Mayim Bialik was on "The Late Late Show" when she opened up to host James Corden about the intensity with which seemingly all people, "Jeopardy!" fans or not, were responding to the hosting controversies.

"I was the headline on CNN three days in a row," Bialik says. "Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts 'Jeopardy!'? I mean, I'm just trying to read the clues. You know, just let me read the clues. The thing about 'Jeopardy!,' we spend our whole lives wanting to be seen, you know, and this job is, like, people should think the least about me as possible. Meaning, it's my job to be the host, just, like, read the clues. It's incredibly enjoyable. I learn things all day. I meet people who have a kind of knowledge that I do not possess. I would do horrible on Jeopardy!. Horrible."

There's two modes of thought on this. To Bialik's credit, the focal point of a show like "Jeopardy!" should be the contestants. Larry King often said that he spoke as little as possible during interviews, always putting the focus on his interview subject, and a quiz show like "Jeopardy!" can operate in a similar vein.

However, it's worth noting that, in the specific case of "Jeopardy!" there is a simple reality. After 37 years of hosting that show, Alex Trebek became a normal, comforting part of people's everyday lives. When we struggle over the new host, it isn't because of the new hosts so much as it is because many of us are still grieving losing Trebek.