They’re just the new kids on the block.
“Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies has revealed what he thinks about the reign of the show’s hosts, Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings — especially in light of fan reactions.
“This show is so hard to host,” Davies told Vulture in an interview published Thursday.
“Alex made it his own, but it wasn’t his own the first couple of years,” he continued, referring to the show’s longtime host, Alex Trebek, who died in 2020 at 80. “A lot of what happened on ‘Jeopardy!’ came from him possessing this job for so long. I do read everything, and look, the strongest thing we’ve got is the passion of our fans.”
He continued, explaining that he wished fans would be “more patient” with both Bialik and Jennings.
“I wish many of our fans were more patient in understanding that we’re dealing with two hosts,” Davies said. “Mayim is a very experienced actress. Ken is a very experienced ‘Jeopardy!’ player. They’re both at the beginning of their hosting careers. There’s an idea that I hold absolute power in making decisions around Jeopardy!, but I don’t.”
Davies also answered a question regarding whether he’d ever gotten a sense that fans prefer one host versus the other.
“I couldn’t give you an absolute number. We read data from everywhere,” he said. “In terms of the tiny percentage of our audience that do go on Reddit or Twitter, there are Ken fans and there are Mayim fans. There are some people who love ‘Jeopardy!’ and will watch both.
“We also have various fans who post that they don’t like either of them.”
The Post reached out to representatives for both Jennings and Bialik for further comment.
Davies also revealed that he and the others who work on the hit game show do monitor what fans are saying and the feedback they get from the “tiny percentage” of those who air their opinions on social media.
He noted that there is “zero difference” in the show’s ratings between the two hosts – repeating that it’s “exactly the same.”
“I stand by the decision to bring Ken in and have Ken be a second host along with Mayim,” the producer stated. “I back both of them. I go to the studio every day and try to make both of them better at hosting the show and make a better program environment around them. They have my full support.”
When Trebek passed after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the show began to test different interim guest hosts, including Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers and Bill Whitaker.
Bialik and Jennings were also among the guest hosts.
Trebek had hosted the show for 37 seasons, since its revival in 1984 – so there were some big shoes to fill.
Jennings was the first person to host after Trebek’s death.
Last July, it was announced that Bialik and Jennings would become the show’s new hosts, working on different episodes.
“The fact is, we have so much ‘Jeopardy!’ to make, and so many plans for the future, that we always knew we would need multiple hosts for the franchise and we are just so grateful that Mayim and Ken stepped in and stepped up to put the show in a position to succeed,” Davies wrote in a statement at the time.
However, “Jeopardy!” fans have definitely been split over who they believe makes the better host, with lots of debates ensuing on social media.
Last week, an insider confirmed to The Post that Bialik had walked out of the last week of filming for Season 39 in support of the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
Jennings took over hosting the series, which is set to wrap filming Friday.
Jennings is also hosting “Jeopardy! Masters,” which is a new concept of the classic game show, in which the top six highest-rated, current “Jeopardy” contestants compete for a grand prize.
Whoever wins the competition series will be the first contestant to take the title of “Jeopardy! Masters” champion.
This article was originally posted by New York Post.
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