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'Jeopardy!' Announces 2 Permanent Hosts: Mayim Bialik And Mike Richards

NOEL KING, HOST:

Question - this game show ticked off a lot of its fans with a new host announcement. Answer - what is "Jeopardy!"? Here's NPR's Neda Ulaby.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: "Jeopardy!" has given us two successors to the late Alex Trebek, who died last year of pancreatic cancer. First, the show's own executive producer, Mike Richards.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

MIKE RICHARDS: And you got the Daily Double.

ULABY: Richards will be the show's new regular host after months of celebrity tryouts that included himself and actor Mayim Bialik.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

MAYIM BIALIK: Here are your categories.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ULABY: She's best known for starring in "The Big Bang Theory," and she's a trained neuroscientist.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

BIALIK: Scientists, Not To Be Confused - Household Brands...

ULABY: But Bialik will only host prime-time "Jeopardy!" specials and spinoffs. In a statement, Sony Pictures said the decision to pick Mike Richards was made by a group of executives, not by Mike Richards, who will still be "Jeopardy!'s" executive producer.

Richards used to work at "The Price Is Right," where several models claimed he contributed to a toxic work environment after they got pregnant. And Bialik also comes with a few small controversies. She's had to defend various comments she's made over the years, including ones about being vaccine hesitant, although not for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, fans of actor LeVar Burton are still peeved the star of "Reading Rainbow" did not get hired to pose questions from the podium.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JEOPARDY!")

LEVAR BURTON: Let's play "Jeopardy!" Here are your categories.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BURTON: Name That Beatles Tune.

ULABY: On Twitter, Hollywood director Ava DuVernay publicly promised to create a new game show just for LeVar Burton. But this kind of fan outrage might be less important than you'd think. In an earlier interview, Mike Richards reflected on his time producing "The Price Is Right." A lot of people, he said, did not like the new host when he came in to replace Bob Barker. But over time, they got used to him, he said, and the show did just fine.

Neda Ulaby, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV THEME SONG MANIACS' "THEME FROM JEOPARDY! - THINK MUSIC") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.

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