The death of Alex Trebek in November of 2020 left a void in the world of television that can never truly be filled.
But in order to carry on the legacy of the show that Trebek so loved, it was necessary to find someone who could take his place behind the podium and ask questions in the form answers to trios of hopeful trivia enthusiasts.
It was not a task that producers took lightly, and several big name stars auditioned with guest host stints.
So it came as something of a shock that with all the A-list celebs and fan favorites who took a turn as host, Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards was chosen to replace Trebek.
The choice was made even more confusing when producers announced a compromise that seemed to please no one:
Richards would take over as day-to-day host, while actress, author, and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik would host primetime tournaments and other "special event" games.
Well, it you’re one of the many people who believe that Bialik’s credentials and camera presence make her a far more suitable host, you’re in luck.
Last week, Richards stepped down from the gig before hosting a single episode.
Crass comments that he’d made on a podcast offended critics, and the backlash became steadily louder until it reached the point where Richards had little choice but to resign.
"I will be stepping down as host effective immediately," Richards wrote in a memo to his staff on Friday.
(As of now, it looks as though he’ll stay on as the show’s executive producer.)
The obvious move at this point would be to have Bialik step in as full-time host — but it’s not that simple.
Insiders say Bialik was producers’ first choice from the start, but her busy schedule might not make it possible for her to host 230 episodes a year.
Mayim currently stars in the Fox sitcom Call Me Kat, and she also hosts a popular podcast.
She spoke glowingly of her time as the host of Jeopardy’s daily episodes, but it’s not currently clear if she’ll be able to accept the full-time gig.
"It’s something I did with tremendous humility and respect for him and just, I mean, I had an unbelievable time," Bialik told PopCulture.com in April.
"My brain really works the way Jeopardy brain needs to work."
Bialik will resume her duties as guest host with a slate of 15 episodes when production resumes this week.
After that, the fate of the show remains uncertain.
Insiders say the show’s producers badly want Mayim to step into Trebek’s shoes permanently, but that’s a difficult proposition given her very busy schedule.
But sources say both sides are committed to figuring something out, and since Jeopardy only films two days a week, our guess is that an arrangement will be sorted out eventually.
A charismatic household name who’s also a PhD with major nerd credentials, Bialik seems tailor made for the gig.
And announcing her as full-time host seems to be one of the only ways that the show could appease fans who are still upset over the Richards situation.