‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik on the Different ‘Vibe’ National College Championship Players Bring to the Game

Mayim Bialik hosts Jeopardy!‘s new National College Championship and her excitement is contagious.

The Call Me Kat actor has said that, while the regular Jeopardy! contestants are fantastic, there’s just something about working with this age group that was “definitely fun.”

'Jeopardy!' host Mayim Bialik wears a brown sweater and glasses at the lectern for the show's National College Championship tournament.
‘Jeopardy!’ host Mayim Bialik takes the lectern for the quiz show’s National College Championship competition | Casey Durkin/ABC via Getty Images

Bialik on the ‘camaraderie’ that college contestants bring to ‘Jeopardy!’

The quiz show host shared recently that working with younger players on the hour-long games was refreshing.

Asked by ABC News (video below) what she found most surprising about the contestants, Bialik diplomatically said, “I don’t want to say that the adults we have on Jeopardy! are not friendly with each other, but the sense of camaraderie with a group of people in their late teens, right around 20, is just very different.

“You know, they’re snapchatting and hanging out. I don’t mean to sound like I’m 90, but like talking on their phones on breaks. It’s just a different kind of vibe.”

She added that adapting to the younger players wasn’t too much of a stretch for her as she has teenage children at home.

“I have a 13- and 16-year-old, so it kind of felt like, ‘I sort of get what this vibe is,'” she said of relating to the collegiate contestants concluding that, “I think they still saw me as just an old person.”

‘Jeopardy!’ National College Championship is the game show’s 1st primetime program

When Mayim Bialik was announced as co-host of Jeopardy! in 2021, it was made known that part of her responsibilities would be “hosting new versions of Jeopardy!” Exactly what that meant at the time was not clear but now we know one of those “new versions” is the show’s National College Championship.

The “collegiate competition,” as Jeopardy!‘s site calls it, will feature “36 of America’s sharpest undergrads” from colleges and universities including Louisiana State University, Spelman College, Clemson University, Kennesaw State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York University.

As the host told Variety recently, “[I]t’s … a really beautiful representation of this country — kids from all backgrounds and different shapes, sizes, colors, sexual orientations from colleges that are Ivy Leagues, public colleges, [and] historically Black colleges.”

Starting Feb. 8 at 8 p.m., the championship’s contestants are vying for some big prize money: a $250,000 grand prize, with second- and third-place players taking home $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.

Bialik admits she’s learning a lot of facts on the show

She may not be a full-time student, but the show’s host told Variety she’s learned a great deal just from reading the clues.

“Well, I still don’t really know where Lake Titicaca is,” she joked. “There are definitely some things that that stick with me, and after they air, I’ll say to my kids, this happened. But mostly, I can’t really talk about it with anybody. I definitely retain stuff. A lot of the information is things I didn’t know in the first place, like French artists of the 14th century. It’s not a thing that I ever thought I would know about.”

‘Jeopardy!’ National College Championship starts Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. on ABC Primetime and Hulu.

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