CULVER CITY - Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik will split hosting duties on ``Jeopardy!'' with Richards hosting the main nightly edition of the iconic quiz show and Bialik hosting prime-time and spin-off specials, producers announced today.
Richards is an executive producer on ``Jeopardy!'' and a former executive producer for ``The Price Is Right'' and ``Let's Make a Deal.'' He has previous hosting experience for ``Beauty and the Geek'' on The WB and ``The Pyramid'' on the Game Show Network.
Bialik is an actress best known for her roles on the hit sitcoms ``Blossom'' and ``The Big Bang Theory.'' She also stars in ``Call Me Kat,'' a sitcom currently airing on Fox.
The first spinoff with her as host will be the ``Jeopardy! National College Championship,'' which will air on ABC in 2022.
``We are thrilled to begin the next chapter of America's favorite quiz show with Mike hosting our daily show and Mayim hosting new versions of
`Jeopardy!''' said Ravi Ahuja, chairman of Global Television Studios and corporate development for Sony Pictures. ``We took this decision incredibly seriously. 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.''
The show has turned to guest hosts to fill the role held by the late Alex Trebek since its syndicated revival began in 1984. In addition to Richards and Bialik, the rotating lineup of celebrities has included Katie Couric, LeVar Burton, Aaron Rodgers, Anderson Cooper, George Stephanopoulos, Joe Buck, Robin Roberts, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Mehmet Oz, Bill Whitaker, David Faber and former contestants Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen.
``We knew early on that we wanted to divide the hosting responsibilities and it became very clear that Mike and Mayim were the undeniable choices,'' Ahuja said. ``They were both at the top of our research and analysis. 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.''
In a statement released Wednesday, Richards said he was ``deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy!,'' according to The Hollywood Reporter. ``Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude. I am incredibly humbled to step behind the lectern and will work tirelessly to make sure our brilliant contestants shine in each and every episode.
``Alex believed the game itself and the contestants are the most important aspects of the show. I was fortunate to witness his professionalism, intensity and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love. I am thrilled that Mayim is joining the `Jeopardy!' team. Her academic track record and enthusiasm for the game made her a terrific guest host. It will be a privilege to produce the prime- time series with her as host.''
Bialik also acknowledged her new role Wednesday, THR reported. ``I couldn't be more thrilled to join the `Jeopardy!' family,'' she said. ``What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life! I'm so grateful and excited to continue to work with Mike Richards, and I'm just over the moon to join forces with him and Sony. After all the conversations we've had about this partnership, I am just so ready to get started!''
The final week of ``Jeopardy!'' episodes hosted by Trebek aired in January. The legendary host had already died Nov. 8 from pancreatic cancer at age 80.
Trebek received 28 outstanding game show host Daytime Emmy Awards nominations for hosting ``Jeopardy!,'' winning seven times.