Mayim Bialik is back hosting ‘Jeopardy!’ on Dec. 6. She’s quizmaster for the first-ever Professors Tournament.
Season 38 of Jeopardy! is a-go! The beloved American game show is currently airing weekdays, though without its longtime host Alex Trebek, who tragically died in November 2020. Alex’s final show aired on January 8, 2021, after which a lineup of guest hosts took over. In August, executive producer Mike Richards was named the host of the syndicated version, while actress Mayim Bialik was chosen to host the primetime specials and spinoff series. However, Mike had to step down due to past controversies, so Mayim and former champion Ken Jennings were named interim hosts until the end of 2021.
The latest week of Jeopardy! ended with Jennings, 47, hosting as contestant Amy Schneider continued her reign as the current champion. The engineering manager’s winning streak started Nov. 17 and has gone on for 13 games. Her total winnings now amount to $536,400, making her one of the show’s most successful contestants of all time. This week, Amy will get a break from the buzzer as university professors from across the nation face off in the Professor’s Tournament. Below, learn more about the reigning champion and upcoming shows.
Mayim Bialik is the current host of ‘Jeopardy!’
Mayim first guest hosted Jeopardy! in Jan 2021, along with a slew of other celebrities. She was initially named host of Jeopardy!’s primetime specials and spin-offs on Aug. 11 2021, but after Mike Richards’ was ousted over controversial past comments, she and Ken took over duties for the syndicated show. The neuroscientist/actress is best known for her brainy role in The Big Bang Theory as well as playing the spunky Blossom on the hit 90s show. As of Dec. 6, she’ll be the interim host alongside Ken until the year ends.
Amy Schneider is the current champion
Returning champion Amy will come back to compete in the Tournament Of Champions starting on Monday, Dec. 20, after the special Professors Tournament ends. The Oakland, California resident started her reign when she beat five-time champion Andrew He in mid-Nov. and has been on top since. Amy is the 4th highest earner in Jeopardy!’s regular-season play, only lagging behind all-time champ James Holtzhauer, Jennings, and recent star player Matt Amodio. She is also the first transgender contestant to reach the show’s coveted Tournament Of Champions echelon.
Talking about her Jeopardy! experience on Dec. 1, Amy told San Francisco’s KGO-TV, “I am so incredibly grateful. Hopefully, I can send a positive message to the nerdy trans girl who wants to be on the show too.” Amy said she was looking forward to being out of the hot seat for a second, taking to Twitter Dec. 4 to say she’s happy to be “watching Jeopardy just as a fan for a couple of weeks.”
Mike Richards scandal
Jeopardy! experienced a lot of drama over the summer related to Mike’s job as host. Mike was an Executive Producer on the show when he was named permanent host in August. However, he announced he was stepping down as the host of the syndicated game show on Aug. 20 following intense backlash and the resurfacing of past controversies. The decision came only days after The Ringer published a report that included controversial comments made by Mike on The Randumb Showpodcast in 2013 and 2014. In one episode, he called his co-host and former assistant Beth Triffon a “booth ho” and “booth slut.” In a 2014 episode, Mike said one-piece swimsuits made women look “really frumpy and overweight.” After these comments surfaced, the podcast was taken down and he apologized in a statement.
Prior to the podcast scandal, Mike had to address past harassment and discrimination lawsuits during his time as an executive producer on The Price Is Right. In a statement to The Wrap, Mike responded to former model Brandi Cochran’s lawsuit. Brandi claimed producers allegedly harassed her after she revealed she was pregnant and was allegedly fired after her maternity leave. “I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys,” Mike said. “During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera.” Model Lanisha Cole alleged Mike and another producer spoke abusively towards her in a 2011 sexual harassment lawsuit. Mike was later dropped as a defendant in the lawsuit, and it was settled in 2013.
Recent guest hosts
Once Alex’s final episode aired in Jan., the show enlisted a star-studded lineup of guest hosts until season 38 premiered in September. The guest hosts for the first three months included Mike, Mayim, Ken, journalist Katie Couric, talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, and 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. Other hosts that followed included Today‘s Savannah Guthrie, neurosurgeon and CNN medical adviser Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Star Trek, and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton, Good Morning America anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, author and CNBC host David Faber, and sportscaster Joe Buck.
Alex did not name his ideal pick for a permanent host before he died. The legendary TV personality hosted the show from 1984 until his tragic passing of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old when he died.