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Newly installed showrunner/exec producer Michael Davies made the announcement Wednesday, revealing in a blog post (read it in full, below) that the duo will share hosting duties with both dividing an assortment of specials.
In a bid to create a more permanent schedule, Jennings will start the season in September and run through year’s end, with Bialik set to take over in January. The move will also afford Bialik the opportunity to film Fox’s comedy Call Me Kat, which was renewed for another season in May.
Jennings will also host the Second Chance competition and Tournament of Champions, while Bialik will return for ABC’s primetime Celebrity Jeopardy. She will also host a couple of new tournaments as well. Production on the new season will begin Monday.
The news caps a messy period of transition following beloved host Alex Trebek’s passing.
Davies, whose exec producing credits include Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Talking Dead, was appointed interim showrunner/exec producer Aug. 31 after former showrunner Mike Richards was ousted from the role following a series of scandals. Jeopardy made Davies’ role permanent in April.
Richards was tapped as executive producer and showrunner of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune in 2019. He was announced as Trebek’s replacement last August, after which press — including THR — reported on the previous discrimination lawsuits he was involved in during his time as executive producer on The Price Is Right. Other reports included the crude and offensive jokes he made during a short-lived podcast he hosted from 2013-14. Richards filmed one day — a week’s worth of Jeopardy! episodes — before stepping down as host. Sony fired him as showrunner not long afterward.
Here’s Davies’ note about the future of Jeopardy:
I write today with the exciting news that we have closed and signed deals with Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings to be the hosts of Jeopardy! moving forward.
The fact is, we have so much Jeopardy! to make, and so many plans for the future, that we always knew we would need multiple hosts for the franchise and we are just so grateful that Mayim and Ken stepped in and stepped up to put the show in a position to succeed. And succeed it has. With Mayim and Ken hosting, the show is considerably up in viewership year over year, with more than 27M viewers tuning in each week this season. When you consider that almost every other show in broadcast television and syndication is declining, this has been a quite remarkable season: we’re the most-watched entertainment show on all of television. Yes, all of television.
In Mayim and Ken, we have two outstanding hosts at the beginning of their Jeopardy! hosting careers who connect with their own unique fanbases, new fans, and the traditional Jeopardy! viewer. Ken will kick off the season in September, host the inaugural Second Chance competition and the heavily anticipated Tournament of Champions featuring Amy Schneider, Matt Amodio, Mattea Roach, Ryan Long, and many, many more. His initial hosting run will take us through December. In the meantime, Mayim will host Celebrity Jeopardy! on ABC in primetime. When she takes over from Ken in January, the current plan is to have her host a couple of new tournaments as well as the Jeopardy! National College Championship and as many weeks as she can manage with her other primetime commitment to “Call Me Kat.” We know you value consistency, so we will not flip flop the hosts constantly and will keep you informed about the hosting schedule.
Mayim and Ken are both extraordinarily talented and simply lovely humans. They support the staff and each other. They love and respect this institution of a television program. In return, the staff and I are honored to work alongside them.
So, I mentioned our plans for the future…
Well, the future will start this Monday as we launch three new initiatives on a single day:
1. Repeat season is upon us. But instead of repeating our tournaments as we have in the past, this year, my fellow producers and I have handpicked six weeks of some of our favorite episodes of the season, featuring our closest games, super-champions, and some of the people who will be announced as part of our inaugural Second Chance competition.
2. Jeopardy! Highlights. Starting Monday, we will be releasing a daily three minute highlight recap of the day’s Jeopardy! episode on our website, across all of our social, and with our partner affiliates. Now, for the first time, you can catch up with the key moments of each and every game.
3. “Inside Jeopardy!” Podcast. Because all of the above gives us so much to talk about, and because there is always so much to talk about on Jeopardy! (it’s a sport, remember?) we will be launching a topical weekly podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts. Hosted by the Jeopardy! producers, including me, “Inside Jeopardy!” will give you all an inside look into everything going on behind the scenes at America’s Favorite Quiz Show: everything from gameplay analysis and behind-the-scenes stories, to official announcements, and special interviews. Please subscribe now to “Inside Jeopardy!” on Spotify, Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts.
On Monday’s podcast, we will announce all of the contestants who will be returning for a Second Chance to become a Jeopardy! champion. And I will share my vision for Jeopardy!’s future, including new developments in the areas of pop culture and sports, plans for a Jeopardy! Honors awards show and my biggest and most passionately held idea: a Jeopardy! Masters league in primetime or on a streaming platform.
To conclude, I want to congratulate both Mayim and Ken. They have both been a joy to work with. They have my commitment, my producer oath, that I will focus on nothing but improving the show around them so that they can do their best work and approach every day in the studio with excitement and energy. And speaking of, we’re back in the Alex Trebek Stage on Monday. I simply can’t wait.
Executive Producer, Jeopardy!
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