Jeopardy host Ken Jennings says he had nothing to do with firing former co-host Mayim Bialik

Originally published at: Jeopardy host Ken Jennings says he had nothing to do with firing former co-host Mayim Bialik - Boing Boing


She may still be hosting the prime time, network broadcast special tournaments. I don’t think they’ve made any announcement about that, and the only thing that’s aired in prime time so far this season has been Celebrity Jeopardy, a good portion of which was filmed while the actors and writers strikes were still going on.

I can say, although I thought Bialik did a fine job, she was not popular with the hardcore Jeopardy fandom, who much prefer Jennings. I think that had as much to do with her being let go as did her support of unions. Or, at least, it made the decision easy for Sony because it gave them cover.


It’s hard to know who to root for because both suck in various different ways. Can’t they just cut their losses and hire LeVar Burton already?


For real.

Kermit The Frog Reaction GIF by LeVar Burton Kids


So, I’m a huge Jeopardy fan, and a huge fan of LeVar Burton. When he guest hosted for a week after Trebek’s death, I was excited, and I thought he was going to do great. He was bad. He was so bad. It was hard to watch. I love LeVar Burton, but the truth is, he flubbed the audition. Badly. Aaron Rodgers did better his week of hosting than Burton did, and I hope Aaron Rodgers never gets near a Jeopardy studio again. Maybe, if Jennings decides to leave at some point, Burton can get another chance, but there is no way they were going to hire him after that guest week.


Maybe, but I’d bet he’d do better given another chance…

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I’m sure he would, but there would first need to be a reason to give him another chance. And there might be. I honestly don’t see Ken Jennings doing this job for 30+ years like Trebek did.

I mean, I love LeVar, but even his own wife afterwards said to him, “Honey, this show isn’t you.”

And he was looking tired by the end of his week, which meant he was exhausted after just one day of taping. Jeopardy films 5 episodes a day for 7 straight weeks. Towards the end of Alex’s life he was so eager to get more in that they were doing 8 episodes a day.


I haven’t watched Jeopardy! in 35+ years and I did sample each of their hosting skills… I’d rather watch repeats with Alex Trebek hosting.

As of late August, Burton was working on a deal to host an adaptation of Trivial Pursuit for The CW. So hopefully that will work out for him.

I agree with you - Burton is an excellent actor and apparently a great human being, but his spell as J! host wasn’t great. What really aggravated me was that scourge of the sports airwaves Joe Buck was pretty good.

Joe Buck was pretty good. I will say Burton arguably wasn’t the worst. I might give that honor to Dr. Oz. And Katie Couric couldn’t seem to contain her fanjoy of “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM HOSTING JEOPARDY RIGHT NOW!!!” which was adorable, but didn’t make for great hosting.

This is an interesting read. The author, Claire McNear, is who broke a lot of the news about Mike Richards that led to his firing. The tl;dr is that several factors led to the Bialik/Jeopardy split, not just one thing. Basically, they just weren’t a great fit. And the strike certainly didn’t help. And also, as I said, she may still return for prime time network specials. She might not, but that is still a possibility.


Yeah, the whole strike thing is pretty nuanced:

Then there’s the matter of her absence from the entirety of the current season of Jeopardy!, which began airing in September. In May, Bialik announced that she would cease hosting Jeopardy! in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, which was on strike. “There’s a lot of complexity to this, but my general statement is always that I come from a union family,” she said later. “While it’s not for me to personally judge anyone else’s decision, for me, I am a union supporter—pretty much all unions and what they fight for.”

Sources close to the show say this stand was not exactly what it seemed. Jeopardy! and other game shows are guided by a distinct set of union provisions known as the Network Television Code, meaning that while Jeopardy!’s writers are members of the WGA and thus were part of the strike—many were prominent figures on picket lines in Los Angeles and New York—the rest of the staff and crew were not. SAG-AFTRA—which began its own strike in July and of which Bialik and Jennings are both members—explicitly advises non-striking members to continue to work per the terms of their contracts; to do otherwise can weaken the union’s negotiating power because it indicates that members might not follow the letter of the contract.

There was also a semi-recent precedent at Jeopardy!: During the 2007-08 writers strike, Trebek hosted throughout the work stoppage. Both then and during this year’s strike, the quiz show used only clues written before the writers decamped. (The Network Television Code is governed by its own contract, which runs through June 2024.)

Bialik’s move, however, left many decrying Jennings as a scab and criticizing Jeopardy! for taping at all. The actor Wil Wheaton, a friend of Bialik’s who she said was the first to predict she would get the Jeopardy! job, slammed Jennings in a widely discussed Facebook post in which he wrote, “Your privilege may protect you right now, but we will never forget.”

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That, and as the article points out, she was being borderline anti-vax (in very nuanced talking points) and borderline Zionist (in very nuanced talking points). That didn’t necessarily lead her to being let go, but it certainly made her less popular overall.

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Interesting. Ken Jennings was NOT a scab then, and Wil Wheaton was wrong to attack him as one.

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Maybe the Coachella people can bring him back for you? I mean, if the Jeopardy people get a little desperate. :crazy_face:

The budget option would be Chuck Testa:

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I mean, that was clear back then already. It’s just that nobody would listen

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