Ken Jennings Says Mayim Bialik’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Exit ‘Caught Him off Guard’

Jeopardy! fans were stunned when Mayim Bialik, the Blossom star and co-host of the franchise, announced on Instagram she would be stepping down from hosting the syndicated version of the show earlier this month. In her post, she stated that Jeopardy! producers Sony Pictures Television had “informed” her she would be leaving the syndicated show, leading some fans to speculate she had not left of her own volition.

A few weeks after her bombshell announcement, Jeopardy! co-host Ken Jennings, who has split co-hosting duties with Bialik for the past year, finally broke his silence about Bialik’s outster in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her,” Jennings, who was previously the most successful contestant in Jeopardy! history, told THR. “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 and Jennings assumed their dual hosting roles during a tumultuous period in Jeopardy! history. Following longtime host Alex Trebek’s death in 2021, executive producer Mike Richards was briefly installed as the show’s showrunner and host, though he was let go shortly into his tenure after reports surfaced of various discrimination lawsuits against him while he was working as the exec producer of The Price Is Right. In the summer of 2022, Jennings and Bialik were formally announced as Jeopardy! cohosts, sharing hosting duties for the show’s syndicated episodes as well as its primetime specials.

Bialik’s tenure at the show was not without controversy. As an author and proponent of attachment parenting theory, an ideology that promotes what some critics say is extreme closeness between mothers and children, Bialik was accused by some of espousing anti-feminist and toxic advice in her books. She has also faced backlash for previous comments she has made interpreted to be criticizing vaccines, though she has staunchly denied being opposed to childhood vaccinations.


Though it’s unclear why Bialik left Jeopardy!, in a statement to The Wrap, Sony confirmed that Jennings would assume sole syndicated episode hosting duties and that Bialik would continue to work on the show’s 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 spokesperson said. “We are truly grateful for all of Mayim’s contributions to Jeopardy!”