After Trebek passed away of pancreatic cancer at the age of 80 last November, the show began a search for its new host. Over the past season, guests hosts like Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Anderson Cooper, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, LeVar Burton, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, Joe Buck, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Buzzy Cohen and David Faber took turns taking on the gig. Richards hosted between the last week of February and the first week of March, and Bialik performed the duties at the end of May and early June.
“We took this decision incredibly seriously,” Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, said in the press release. “A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show–deservedly so because it’s Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek. A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers.”
Ahuja also said the team “knew early on” it wanted to “divide the hosting responsibilities,” noting “it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices.”
“They were both at the top of our research and analysis,” he continued. “Mike is a unique talent, at ease behind the podium and a double threat as producer and host. Mayim has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the Jeopardy! brand. We are excited to get to work with them both and are confident that they will carry on the legacy of this iconic show.”