Ken Jennings Says Mayim Bialik’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Ouster ‘Took Me Off Guard’

The former “Big Bang Theory” star said the decision came down from Sony on Dec. 15

jeopardy mayim bialik ken jennings
Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings

Ken Jennings responded Tuesday to the unexpected ouster of his “Jeopardy!” cohost Mayim Bialik, saying that the move from Sony “took me off guard.”

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m going to miss her,” Jennings said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I can’t speak to her decision-making process or her opinions about it. But on my end, I’m just a fan of ‘Jeopardy!’ and I’m always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster.”

Bialik, who had until recently shared hosting duties with Jennings, announced Dec. 15 that the decision came down from Sony ahead of Hollywood’s holiday break for her to not move forward as cohost of the iconic game show franchise.

“Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of ‘Jeopardy!’” she wrote to Instagram. “I am incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the ‘Jeopardy!’ family.”

Continuing to the social media statement, she said: “For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America’s favorite quiz show, thank you.”

Read her statement in full below.

In a statement acquired by TheWrap, Sony Pictures Television expressed gratitude for Bialik’s work hosting, writing they “hope to continue to work with her on primetime specials.”

“We made the decision to have one host for the syndicated show next season to maintain continuity for our viewers, and Ken Jennings will be the sole host for syndicated ‘Jeopardy!,’” the statement read. “We are truly grateful for all of Mayim’s contributions to ‘Jeopardy!’”

Jennings hosted the last batch of episodes of Season 39, and has been hosting Season 40 on his own since Bialik took a step back from filming in May in solidarity with the WGA strike. The pair divided hosting duties for Season 39, with Jennings taking August to December and Bialik taking January through May, before she stepped away from filming.

Bialik was also set to host the latest season of “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” but did not participate in production in the midst of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Some speculated that social media posts from Bialik calling out antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israeli civilians may have informed Sony’s decision to part ways.

An individual with knowledge told TheWrap that while Sony did not provide a specific reason for Bialik’s firing, the timing of the decision points to the social media activity being a contributing factor given that she was still under contract to host the show.

A second individual with knowledge of the decision said Bialik’s social media content had “absolutely” nothing to do with her exit.

Jose Bastidas contributed to this story.

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