‘Jeopardy!’ says Mayim Bialik will guest host for three weeks following Mike Richards’ first and only week as host
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Bialik will tape episodes across three days of production. The show typically films five episodes per day, so her three days of work will result in 15 episodes, or three weeks worth.
The show started taping for Season 38 Aug. 19, 2021, which ended up being Richard’s last day as host. A planned production day Aug. 20, 2021, was canceled, so it appears the show may be attempting to “catch up” by taping three days with Bialik.
Richards taped a single day of episodes, or one week, before he resigned as host and the show will air those as planned since they will be needed for continuity, especially given the Matt Amodio’s big winning streak that ended the previous season.
Richards’ episodes will air Sept. 13, 2021, with Bialik’s airing Sept. 20 through Oct. 8, 2021.
After that, the show says it will go through a rotation of guest hosts again.
Bialik had originally been named to host primetime specials of “Jeopardy!,” though only one, a college tournament, was definitively announced.
With Richards out of the host job, Bialik has reportedly risen back up to a top choice for a permanent replacement, but execs don’t think they can produce the syndicated version while she also works on her Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat.”
Sitcoms typically prep, rehearse and tape a single episode over the course of a week.
“Kat,” which wrapped a very mediocre first season earlier this year, is slated as a mid-season premiere, which means it’s likely to enter production in the next month or so. Pre-production is likely already under way and Bialik, who has executive producer credit, may already been involved in some aspects of that.
If Sony is interested in Bialik as a permanent host, it would likely need to get very creative until “Kat” wraps for the season and then gamble on if the show will get a Season 3 (unless it vastly improves its ratings, that may not be likely).
Insiders have indicated “Jeopardy!” isn’t looking to do an extended rotation of guest hosts again. The original plan was to finish out Season 37 after longtime host Alex Trebek died with guest hosts and then make a final decision.
Others are said to still be in the running too, including Ken Jennings, a former contestant who also has a consulting producer gig with the show but also has a commitment to “The Chase” on ABC, though this likely isn’t as demanding of a schedule as a sitcom.
One challenge at this point is that if the show wants to avoid a long string of guest hosts, it needs someone who can commit to taking over permanently through the holiday hiatus this year and well into 2022.
Installing someone as a sort of long term substitute could be a solution, but that person would need to understand going in that his or her role could have an expiration date unless Sony decides to make it permanent.
Richards had been named to replace Trebek on the syndicated editions of the show, but stepped down after reporting emerged that, during his time at “The Price is Right,” the show allegedly fired a pregnant model, followed by the surfacing of podcasts where he made offensive comments.
Assuming “Jeopardy!” tapes three days the week of Aug. 23, 2021, that means it would likely need to have a guest host lined up and prepped by mid-September before it exhausts episodes after Oct. 8’s airs.
There have been conflicting reports on whether Richards is involved with selecting a new host, though he always said publicly that Sony would make the final call, something that some doubted once it turned out he landed the job.
Richards could also be in danger of losing his job as EP of both “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.” Sony had said he will stay on, but it’s worth noting that many of his comments on the podcast, which he acknowledged and apologized for, could affect his ability to effectively lead the staff of one of the U.S.’s most successful TV franchises.