“The Big Bang Theory” actor Mayim Bialik and former champion Ken Jennings will host “Jeopardy!” through the end of the year, the television game show announced Thursday.
Beginning Monday, Bialik will host “several weeks of episodes, which will air through November 5,” a press release stated.
Bialik and Jennings will then split hosting duties. Sony Pictures Television, which produces the famed quiz show, said each person will host roughly the same number of weeks of episodes.
The news comes nearly a month after Mike Richards stepped down as Alex Trebek’s replacement and weeks after it was announced that Richards would no longer serve as executive producer of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” following scrutiny over resurfaced discrimination lawsuits and past comments he made about women, Jews and poor people.
Richards, Bialik and Jennings were among several guest hosts who helmed the syndicated game show after Trebek died in November from pancreatic cancer. The show announced in August that Richards had been selected as the new daily host, but the news was quickly met with intense social media backlash followed by Richard’s detractors digging up two lawsuits he was involved in.
In one of the suits, a former model for “The Price Is Right” alleged she was fired after she became pregnant. The model, Brandi Cochran, said Richards treated her differently after she announced she was pregnant in 2008. Richards was not listed as a defendant in the case which went to trial. It was eventually resolved after a jury awarded Cochran more than $8 million but the award was overturned by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, documents show. Cochran and the defendants settled out of court.
A second lawsuit accused Richards of treating another model for the game show differently than the other models. Lanisha Cole, who worked at “The Price Is Right,” filed the suit against Richards, a producer and Fremantle Media. Richards was later dropped as a defendant and the suit was settled in 2013, according to The Daily Beast.
The firestorm targeting Richards intensified after The Ringer’s Claire McNear reported that Richards made disparaging comments about women, Jews, poor people and Haiti seven years ago, while hosting a podcast called “The Randumb Show.”
Richards denied any wrongdoing in the lawsuits and apologized for the comments he made on the podcast.
Last month, he said in a statement that it had become clear that moving forward with the “Jeopardy!” gig “would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.”
“I want to apologize to each of you for the unwanted negative attention that has come to ‘Jeopardy!’ over the last few weeks and for the confusion and delays this is now causing. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain your trust and confidence,” Richards said in his statement.