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Mayim Bialik opens up about ‘Jeopardy!’ drama: ‘Just let me read the clues’

Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts ‘Jeopardy?’ — Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik on the set of “Jeopardy!”
Mayim Bialik is hosting episodes of “Jeopardy!” through Nov. 5. From there, she and Ken Jennings will take turns hosting the show through the end of the calendar year.
Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

As “Jeopardy!” strives to move past the controversy surrounding its search for Alex Trebek’s successor, Mayim Bialik is guiding the show as a temporary (for now) host.

The neuroscientist and “Big Bang Theory” star has been vocal about wanting to host the show permanently, but as “Jeopardy!” currently works through what is arguably its most complicated chapter in history, Bialik has one primary goal: mitigate the drama.

“Really, (I’m) just trying to decrease any drama factor going on, and kind of go back to this incredible, iconic show, which has a very long, long streak going right now, as well, with Matt Amodio,” Bialik recently told NBC News.

For Bialik, that effort largely involves doing her best to stay in the background and let the contestants shine — an approach Trebek emphasized during his 36 years as host.

“I was the headline on CNN three days in a row,” Bialik said Tuesday night during an appearance on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” according to Yahoo Entertainment. “Who knew people were so passionate about who hosts ‘Jeopardy?’

“I mean, I’m just trying to read the clues,” she continued. “You know, just let me read the clues. The thing about ‘Jeopardy!,’ we spend our whole lives wanting to be seen, you know, and this job is like — people should think the least about me as possible.”

But Bialik has said she doesn’t feel any of the drama when she’s in the studio — in part because she doesn’t read the news.

“In some cases, that’s a detriment, because I don’t always know what’s going on,” she said in a recent interview with Glamour magazine. But I’m not checking Twitter on my way in to see who thinks should be on ‘Jeopardy!’ that day. I go to work, and I do my job.”


How long is Mayim Bialik hosting ‘Jeopardy!’?

Bialik is hosting “Jeopardy!” through Nov. 5. From there, she and “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” champion Ken Jennings will take turns hosting the show through the end of the calendar year, the Deseret News reported.

“Jeopardy!” previously announced that the actress — well known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory” — would officially join the show as the host of primetime and spin-off specials (including the “Jeopardy! National College Championship” that will air on ABC next year).

Following the rise and fall of Mike Richards as “Jeopardy!” host, though, Bialik told NBC News that she and Jennings — who is a consulting producer for the quiz show — just want to do their part and help out the “Jeopardy!’ family” as best they could.

“We’re kind of in that sort of mode: trying to get some stability and consistency back for our wonderful staff and crew, many of whom have been there for decades without any sort of drama or turmoil,” she said. “That’s what I think Ken and I are both focusing on right now.

“My interest right now is for the viewers to not think much about what’s going in terms of hosting, meaning I’d like to be as much of a neutral to pleasant presence as host of what’s going to be a lot of episodes between now and several months from now,” Bialik continued. “I really don’t want to make it about me.”


What Mayim Bialik has to say about hosting ‘Jeopardy!” permanently

But Bialik also isn’t shy when it comes to her interest in hosting “Jeopardy!” permanently.

Earlier this year, the actress was one of 16 people to fill in as guest host following Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer. And after filming for two days (two weeks of shows), Bialik said she didn’t want to leave the studio.

“This was a case where I intuitively felt something very special had happened for me in my life,” told Glamour. “And these are long days. These are not easy days. ... You need to think on your feet. You need to pronounce words in the Navajo language, which is not something I had ever done before. Learning to name the lakes of Africa. I’m literally being asked to squeeze my brain. It’s not easy work. But there was something really special that I felt there, and I can’t explain it.

“There’s no other job I would rather have,” she continued. “I love my sitcom work, I do. I love all the other things I do. ... But I absolutely have never had a better job.”