Jeopardy! EP Michael Davies finally broke his silence. He’s talking about Mayim Bialik’s controversial exit as co-host last December.
At the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday, Davies spilled the beans. Despite previously stating Bialik had his full support, he admitted, “Ken really won the job.”
Davies explained the multi-host situation was a result of the Mike Richards controversy. “We were forced into it,” he said. Mayim ended up hosting the primetime versions, while Ken was brought in due to Mayim’s commitments to her Fox sitcom, Call Me Kat.
But things have changed over the past 2-1/2 seasons. Davies mentioned that feedback from television stations and others indicated a preference for a single host. “Mayim is superb, but Ken really won the job,” he reiterated.
In a May 2023 Vulture interview, Davies claimed there was “zero difference” in ratings between Bialik and Jennings. He stressed there was no clear data favoring one over the other.
“I back both of them,” he declared. Davies is committed to improving both hosts and the show’s environment.
The internet was abuzz on Dec. 15 when Bialik announced her departure on Instagram. “Sony informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy!,” she revealed.
Sony’s statement followed shortly after. They decided to have one host for continuity’s sake, choosing Ken Jennings for the role. They expressed gratitude towards Mayim and hoped to continue working with her on special projects.
Bialik had been absent from her $4 million-a-year Jeopardy! gig since last May. She showed solidarity with the show’s striking writers, leading to Jennings finishing the season.
Jennings himself was taken aback by Bialik’s sudden departure. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “It took me off guard. I loved working with Mayim and will miss her.”