Ken Jennings breaks his silence on Mayim Bialik’s ‘Jeopardy!’ firing

Ken Jennings has spoken out for the first time about Mayim Bialik being let go from “Jeopardy!”

“It took me off guard, because I loved working with my Mayim and I’m gonna miss her,” he told the Hollywood Reporter in a story published Tuesday.

Jennings added that he “can’t speak to her decision-making process” or any of her “opinions” about the firing.

However, the contestant-turned-host did share how “delighted” he was to land the full-time gig after Bialik –– who had co-hosted the syndicated game show with him since last year –– was ousted earlier this month.

“On my end, I’m just a fan of ‘Jeopardy!’ and I’m always delighted to host when they call upon me. I just feel extremely lucky to have even been considered for this job as a non-broadcaster,” he told the magazine.

Ken Jennings has broken his silence on Mayim Bialik’s “Jeopardy!” firing. Jeopardy/Youtube
Jennings admitted the firing “took [him] off guard.” ABC
“I’m gonna miss her,” he said. ABC

Jennings, 49, rose to fame as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” He made his debut in 2004 and went on to win 74 consecutive games, earning him the record for the show’s longest winning streak.

“It’s kind of a weird thing to try to bring back an ex-contestant to host, and I’ve obviously been learning as I go. But I loved growing up with ‘Jeopardy!’ where Alex [Trebek] was the host of that show for almost 38 years, and people just kind of felt like he was part of their family, and it’s impossible to fill those shoes,” he continued.

Jennings added that he hopes to also host the series for “37 more years.”

Bialik revealed on Dec. 15 that she would not be returning to her co-hosting gig. via REUTERS

Bialik, 48, announced via Instagram on Dec. 15 that she would not be returning as Jennings’ co-host.

“As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some ‘Jeopardy!’ news. Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of ‘Jeopardy!'” she wrote.

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Bialik shared that she was “deeply grateful for the opportunity” and “honored” to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy.

“For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America’s Favorite Quiz Show, thank you,” she concluded.

Bialik and Jennings co-hosted the show after guests filled in. ABC
Jennings had previously been a successful contestant. REUTERS

The hosting gig for “Jeopardy!” was up in the air after Trebek died from pancreatic cancer in November 2020.

Shortly after, several guest hosts –– including Robin Roberts and Katie Couric –– temporarily took over before the series announced its executive producer Mike Richards would host.

However, Richards resigned just a few weeks later following his past controversial comments resurfacing. Jennings and Bialik were subsequently announced as co-hosts.