Mayim Bialik Is ‘Not At All’ Surprised ‘Big Bang’ Alum Wil Wheaton Has Made ‘Celebrity Jeopardy’ Final (Exclusive)

The 'Celebrity Jeopardy!' host talks the 'momentum' leading up to the final, Wil Wheaton's run on the show, and whether or not her kids would ever do 'Jeopardy!'

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It’s all led up to this. After several rounds of competition where celebrities faced off in the ultimate battle of knowledge, the Celebrity Jeopardy! final has arrived. Ike Barinholtz, Wil Wheaton, and Patton Oswalt will battle for the title of Celebrity Jeopardy! champion and winner of the $1 million grand prize during the February 2 episode.

HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Celebrity Jeopardy! host Mayim Bialik about the championship round and her Big Bang Theory co-star Wil’s run on the show. Mayim said she’s “not at all” surprised that Wil has made it this far.

Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton, Patton Oswalt, and Ike Barinholtz are the finalists on ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ (ABC)

“Wil is one of those people who has a vast amount of knowledge that not only he has and can recall quickly, which there are plenty of smart people who in the environment of Jeopardy! would look like they don’t know anything because it’s the ability to get the buzzer, get the timing, not start crying because you’re so anxious, which is what I would do, and be able to kind of pull that information quickly… Wil’s always been that person in my life, who I knew knew lots of things about lots of things. So it’s been very fun to see him get to show that side of himself this way,” she told HollywoodLife.

Wil isn’t the only Big Bang Theory co-star to try Celebrity Jeopardy! Melissa Rauch competed earlier in the season. If Celebrity Jeopardy! returns for another season, Mayim would love to see more of her co-stars hit the podium.

“I think that a lot of people would probably love to see Jim Parsons, but I don’t think it’s something that he would want to do. Kunal Nayyar is someone who would be really fun. I know he’s busy filming a lot of other things,” Mayim explained. “That’s also the thing that I think people don’t necessarily realize. It’s a very specific filming schedule and scheduling possibilities, so there are probably a ton more celebrities that we just couldn’t get for those dates. So my hope would be that if we get to do more that we get to expand out.”

The 47-year-old admitted that she “didn’t realize how excited” she would get about the Celebrity Jeopardy! tournament as the competition went on. “I didn’t realize how exciting the momentum would be. It really builds in complexity and intensity,” she said ahead of the final round.

Several comedians competed on Celebrity Jeopardy! over the course of the season, which has made it difficult for Mayim to keep a straight face at times. “It’s very hard,” Mayim said about not laughing. “You have to also understand, the episodes that you see they’ve been edited, so they take out all of my inappropriate giggling. There were definitely several times I had to pause.”

The journey to find a new Jeopardy! host(s) in the wake of Alex Trebek’s death in 2020 wasn’t easy. After Mike Richards stepped down following a brief run as host, Ken and Mayim served as temporary hosts. In July 2022, Ken and Mayim were named permanent co-hosts of the long-running game show.

Mayim noted that it’s been “great” sharing the podium with Ken and forging this new chapter together. “I work on Call Me Kat, which is my day job. We’re finishing our third season on Fox. Honestly, I work Jeopardy! when I’m on hiatus. It’s been a complicated schedule to juggle,” the actress admitted. ” I’m very grateful that Ken and I can share that way. Ken also was in our season premiere of Call Me Kat year so that was really fun. I got to see him outside of the stage. People don’t realize that he and I are never together because when one of us is there, the other one is not. Even when we get to do some press together, it’s fun. He’s this icon. He’s a legend in his own right simply for the incredible and historical run that he had on Jeopardy! But also it’s really just fun to get to see him in the flesh. Also, I didn’t think he’d be tall. He’s so tall.”

Mayim Bialik
Mayim Bialik is the host of ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ (ABC)

Following Celebrity Jeopardy!, a new Jeopardy! tournament is on the horizon. The High School Reunion tournament will premiere on February 20. The tournament will feature 27 former teen contestants who are returning to the Jeopardy! stage.

“It’s a little bit of a where are they now? For me, it’s exciting because I have two teenagers. I have a 14 and a 17-year-old, so I’ll be bringing them to those tapings because I want them to see like, look, this should be you,” Mayim told HollywoodLife. “I think what’s really nice that I get to participate in is not simply hosting but really understanding, being part of, and being integrated into the Jeopardy! community. It’s important to Jeopardy! that we follow people, that we follow their journey, that we see where they ended up, and especially for younger contestants to be able to see the adults that they become is really exciting. I’m very excited for that. I get to try and convince more teenagers that I’m cool and see if I can succeed with strangers since my kids are not convinced.”

As for whether or not her kids would ever consider doing Jeopardy! in any capacity, Mayim said, “No. I mean, I think the stigma of mama being the host is probably enough to freak them out. My younger one’s a little shyer, but my older one would probably love the challenge. He does things like Model UN and things like that, so I think he would probably love that challenge. But I don’t know. I think with me it would be a mess.”

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