Season 39 of Jeopardy! premiered on September 12 with new permanent hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings. The beloved American game show is without its longtime host Alex Trebek, who tragically died in November 2020. Alex’s final show aired on January 8, 2021, after which a lineup of guest hosts took over. In August 2021, executive producer Mike Richards was named the host of the syndicated version, while Mayim was chosen to host the primetime specials and spinoff series. However, Mike had to step down due to past controversies, so Mayim and Ken were named interim hosts.
Ken and Mayim are the official hosts of Jeopardy! now. Ken will also host the Second Chance tournament and the Tournament of Champions, while Mayim will host Celebrity Jeopardy! and the National College Championship.
Below, learn more about the reigning champion on Jeopardy! and upcoming shows.
Ken Jennings is the current host of ‘Jeopardy!’
Ken is hosting Jeopardy! through the week of September 26. Ken is the most famous former Jeopardy! champion and has the longest winning streak in the show’s history with 74 consecutive wins. He won $4.5 million as a contestant.
Mayim is currently hosting Celebrity Jeopardy! which premiered Sept. 25. It features 27 total celebs including Marvel actor Simu Liu, Saturday Night Live star Ego Nwodim, and more. They play for a charity of their choice.
HollywoodLife spoke to Mayim at the Call Me Kat press junket on September 21 about how she balances hosting Jeopardy! and producing/starring in the FOX sitcom. “I mean, just my exhaustion level mostly. I think I’ve always been a person who talks like I’m speaking through a textbook, so I don’t think Jeopardy has made that more so, but no, it’s definitely changed my scheduling and honestly, it’s brought into focus how much energy I do still need for Call Me Kat,” Mayim said.
“And last year, obviously, was kind of unusual circumstances to burn the candle at both ends,” she added. ‘But this year, I’m actually pacing out a lot more of my responsibilities to Jeopardy in a way that I don’t feel takes away our time from what we do at Call Me Kat. So, I guess that’s kind of a difference. But I’m very relieved I get to wear sneakers on Call Me Kat most of the time. And on Jeopardy, I always have to wear heels.”
David Sibley is the current champion
The current Jeopardy! champion is episcopal priest David Sibley. David is from Walla Walla, Washington. As of September 27, he’s on a one-day winning streak with $21,809 in earnings. He’ll face off against government lawyer and professional mixed martial arts coach Nick Keoki Kilstein from Pennington, New Jersey and office manager Charlotte Cook from Essex Fells, New Jersey.
Mike Richards scandal
Jeopardy! experienced a lot of drama in the summer of 2021 related to Mike’s job as host. Mike was an Executive Producer on the show when he was named permanent host in August 2021. 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.
Past guest hosts
Once Alex’s final episode aired in January 2021., 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.
Who is the permanent host?
Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings were named permanent hosts of Jeopardy! on July 27, 2022. Ken will be the host of Season 39 from September 12 until December 2022. He will also host the Second Chance competition and the highly-anticipated Tournament of Champions. Mayim will host Celebrity Jeopardy! during that time. She’ll take over for Ken and host the regular show starting in January 2023. She’ll also host new tournaments such as the National College Championship.