Starting Nov. 8, former champion Ken Jennings will split ‘Jeopardy!’ hosting duties with actress Mayim Bialik until the end of 2021.
Season 38 of Jeopardy! is a-go! The beloved American game show is currently airing weekdays, though without its longtime host Alex Trebek, who tragically died in November 2020. Alex’s final showed aired on January 8, 2021, after which a lineup of guest hosts took over. In August, executive producer Mike Richards was named the host of the syndicated version, while actress Mayim Bialik was chosen to host the primetime specials and spinoff series. However, Mike had to step down due to past controversies, so Mayim and former champion Ken Jennings were named interim hosts until the end of 2021.
The latest week of Jeopardy! ended with Mayim, 45, hosting as contestant Kate Kohn became the current champion. Heading into the new week of Jeopardy!, Kate will defend her title and her $20,000 1-day winnings against new contestants. The Monday, Nov. 8 episode, which marks one year since Alex died, will featured a change in the hosting schedule. Ken, 47, will officially step in to share hosting duties with Mayim from here on out until 2021 ends. Below, learn more about this week’s shows.
Ken Jennings is the current host of ‘Jeopardy!’
Ken is a former Jeopardy! champion with winnings that toal over $4 million from the show. He guest-hosted Jeopardy! a few times in 2021 following Alex’s death. As of Nov. 8, he’ll be the interim host alongside Mayim until the year ends. Ken and the Big Bang Theory alum became the syndicated version’s interim hosts when Mike had to step down as permanent host due to the controversy.
Ahead of his hosting return, Ken shared a tweet on Nov. 7 and expressed his excitement about the gig. “I’m tagging in from @missmayimand hosting some@Jeopardy again starting this week. Always an honor and a real joy to be back where it all started. (Also, it’s been a minute so I hope I’m not too rusty out there.)” he said.
I'm tagging in from @missmayim and hosting some @Jeopardy again starting this week. Always an honor and a real joy to be back where it all started. (Also, it's been a minute so I hope I'm not too rusty out there.)
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2021
Kate Kohn is the current champion
The week of Nov. 8 episodes will feature Kate as the returning champion. Kate is a communications manager from Washington D.C. She won her first match against Sri Kompella and Jeff Smith on Friday, November 5. She earned $20,000 from her inaugural victory, and she hopes to get a winning streak going when she faces off against editor Dane Reighard and college professor Elena Passaerello.
Mike Richards scandal
Jeopardy! experience a lot of drama over the summer related to Mike’s job as host. Mike was an Executive Producer on the show when he was named permanent host in August. However, he announced he was stepping down as the host of the syndicated game show on Aug. 20 following intense backlash and the resurfacing of past controversies. The decision came only days after The Ringer published a report that included controversial comments made by Mike on The Randumb Showpodcast in 2013 and 2014. In one episode, he called his co-host and former assistant Beth Triffon a “booth ho” and “booth slut.” In a 2014 episode, Mike said one-piece swimsuits made women look “really frumpy and overweight.” After these comments surfaced, the podcast was taken down and he apologized in a statement.
Prior to the podcast scandal, Mike had to address past harassment and discrimination lawsuits during his time as an executive producer on The Price Is Right. In a statement to The Wrap, Mike responded to former model Brandi Cochran’s lawsuit. Brandi claimed producers allegedly harassed her after she revealed she was pregnant and was allegedly fired after her maternity leave. “I would not say anything to disrespect anyone’s pregnancy and have always supported my colleagues on their parenting journeys,” Mike said. “During my tenure, our female cast members welcomed seven beautiful children. We embraced and celebrated each pregnancy and birth both in front of and behind the camera.” Model Lanisha Cole alleged Mike and another producer spoke abusively towards her in a 2011 sexual harassment lawsuit. Mike was later dropped as a defendant in the lawsuit, and it was settled in 2013.
Recent guest hosts
Once Alex’s final episode aired in Jan., the show enlisted a star-studded lineup of guest hosts until season 38 premiered in September. The guest hosts for the first three months included Mike, Mayim, Ken, journalist Katie Couric, talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, and 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. Other hosts that followed included Today‘s Savannah Guthrie, neurosurgeon and CNN medical adviser Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Star Trek, and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton, Good Morning America anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, author and CNBC host David Faber, and sportscaster Joe Buck.
Alex did not name his ideal pick for a permanent host before he died. The legendary TV personality hosted the show from 1984 until his tragic passing of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old when he died.