‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik Facing Backlash for Changing Rules Mid-Show

in Movies & TV

Mayim Bialik 'Jeopardy!' host

Credit: ABC

Mayim Bialik and Jeopardy! are under fire for a questionable change to the rules mid-show, and fans of the popular game aren’t happy.

Mayim Bialik holding Final Jeopardy card
Credit: ABC

In late 2020, long-time Jeopardy! host, Alex Trebek, sadly passed away. The celebrated presenter, who had helmed Jeopardy! since its syndicated revival in 1984, lost a painful battle with pancreatic cancer that he had been diagnosed with a year earlier in 2019.

At the time of his death, Trebek had been contracted through 2022 to the end of the 38th season of Jeopardy!, which meant that hosts from “within the Jeopardy! family” were brought in to host the program.

Alex Trebek
Credit: ABC

Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik guest hosted from May 31, 2021, through June 11, 2021, and just two months later, it was confirmed that the actress, writer, and presenter would lead Jeopardy!‘s primetime specials and spinoffs.

Now, almost two years later, Bialik hosts the syndicated version of Jeopardy! (now in its 39th season), sharing hosting duties with former Jeopardy! contestant and champion Ken Jennings. Her role as host on the main game show came after a series of incidents resurfaced involving Trebek’s replacement, Mike Richards, who resigned after just one week of hosting the show. Bialik also hosted the Jeopardy! National College Championship and Celebrity Jeopardy!, while Jennings recently presented the Jeopardy! Masters spinoff. James Holzhauer came first in Masters, with recent main show champion Mattea Roach placing second.

Mayim Bialik on Jeopardy set
Credit: ABC

Jeopardy!, of course, has a dedicated viewership, and its ratings and awards load is a testament to that. Although a recent notable change to the game show format divided fans, with executive producer Michael Davies speaking out on the matter.

But for all of its popularity, Bialik’s hosting role has drawn backlash over the years. Fans have often called foul on Bialik’s presenting style and inconsistency with applying certain rules for contestants. Recently, Bialik once again stirred the pot, with fans on social media slamming the host for seemingly changing her rules mid-show.

On Wednesday night’s show (May 31), Bialik caused backlash when she ruled contestant Kyle Marshall’s answer as incorrect while awarding him a win later on for making a similar faux pas.

Mayim Bialik as Jeopardy! host
Credit: ABC

Related: ‘Jeopardy’s Mayim Bialik Dishes on Criticism She Gets That Alex Trebek Didn’t

During a round with the category “Presidential Doin’s”, Bialik asked Marshall, “Made Henry Clay Secretary of State; 2 years after the White House, settled into a new House (of Representatives),” to which the contestant answered, “Adams.” Bialik prompted Marshall to be more specific in his answer — Jeopardy!, of course, requires players to answer in the form of a question.

Marshall responded, “Who is John Adams?” which Bialik ruled as incorrect. Ilhanna Redzovic then jumped in with “John Quincy Adams” scoring the point. However, the questionable behavior of Bialik was further intensified when, later on in Wednesday’s show, Bialik awarded Marshall the money when answering with “Harrison” for another presidential clue.

Mayim Bialik on 'Jeopardy!' set
Credit: ABC

Fans of the show were quick to point out the issue on social media.

Matt C. (@mfc248) wrote on Twitter:

If there exists a coherent principle explaining why the #Jeopardy judges did not give a “be more specific” prompt to “Harrison” but they did to “Adams,” in the same category, I have no idea what that principle might be.

KaraokeQueen (@YinzerSpice) echoed the above sentiments about Bialik’s change to the rules of being more specific in answering:

I feel like if the Jeopardy! judges take just “Harrison” instead of requiring “William Henry” or “Benjamin”, then they should also take “Adams” without asking which one. #jeopardy

Mayim Bialik 'Jeopardy!' host
Credit: ABC

This viewer also called out another answer that Bialik deemed correct; Linda Vastardis (@OriginalLinnie) said they are “done” with Jeopardy!:

Same with inTRAnet … contestant clearly said “InTERnet” which was INCORRECT but she said “That’s right “InTRAnet” instead of asking him to repeat his response. I am done with #Jeopardy until Ken returns. Have a great summer everyone! Can’t do this anymore!

But it wasn’t just Bialik’s questionable requests that fans called out. Miriam B. (@MirReflections) wrote:

Watched regular #jeopardy tonight after just finishing #jeopardymasters. The gap between the incomparable #kenjennings and the malfunctioning robot that is Mayim Bialik is wider than the Grand f****** Canyon. I’m gonna watch Alex reruns on Netflix until Ken returns as host.

alex trebek (left) with ken jennings (right) holding jeopardy trophy
Credit: ABC

Adele Amato T. (@AdeleSellsNJ) said on Twitter:

As hard as I have tried I do not care for Mayim Bialik hosting #Jeopardy She pauses before she answers and it drives me crazy. And I’m spoiled from the Masters.

Katlynn (@Katlynn_shelby) wrote:

@Jeopardy Mayim Bialik is not a suitable fit to host this show. She is devoid of personality and boring to watch #jeopardy

alex trebek with final jeopardy board
Credit: ABC

Related: Alex Trebek’s Replacement, Mayim Bialik, Asked to “Tone It Down”

That said, there are many viewers in Bialik’s court, enjoying her episodes of Jeopardy! more than her co-host, Ken Jennings. Bialik recently stepped down from her hosting duties in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strikes that have swept the country. Jennings will take over her shows for the time being, while the writers strike continues.

Jeopardy!, which was created by Merv Griffin and began airing in 1964, is currently on its 39th season. It is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

What do you think of Mayim Bialik’s hosting of Jeopardy!? Did you notice her rule changes during this episode? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Movies & TV

View Comments (247)