‘Jeopardy!’: Mayim Bialik Revealed Her Biggest Challenge as Guest Host

Time for another guest host to take over the iconic lectern on Jeopardy!. Former star of The Big Bang Theory Mayim Bialik will be manning the quiz board for the next two weeks, and shared which part of the job she found to be the most challenging.

Actress Mayim Bialik arrives at the Saban Community Clinic's 43rd Annual Dinner Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel
Mayim Bialik | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Mayim Bialik ‘lost her mind’ when she was offered ‘Jeopardy!’ gig

Though she’s busy gearing up for her second season of Fox’s Call Me Kat, Bialik cleared her schedule when she got the call to guest host Jeopardy! A longtime fan of the game show and its iconic host, Alex Trebek, Bialik didn’t hesitate to share her excitement at the opportunity.

“I lost my mind, and really am still losing my mind,” she told USA Today. “This is one of the most iconic things that I can be part of in my life. Of all the things I’ve done, of all the acting I’ve done, of all the advocacy I’ve done, and all my academic things, this is the most globally understood, absolutely incredible thing to be part of.”

Trebek’s death in November 2020 from pancreatic cancer has left a major void on the game show. Bialik made honoring his memory a priority while at the legendary lectern.

“I was so grateful,” The Big Bang Theory star said. “To do this also knowing the importance and significance after Alex passed away (and) really honoring this brand and this show was so important to me.”

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‘Call Me Kat’ star got a bit tongue-twisted during specific ‘Jeopardy!’ clues

Acting isn’t Bialik’s only specialty. With a Ph.D. in neuroscience, the Emmy-nominated performer can hold her own in the STEM field. Yet certain pronunciations in Jeopardy! clues tended to trip her up a bit. When asked what she found to be her greatest challenge of hosting, she explained that foreign languages proved to be a stumbling block.

“Reading words in languages that I don’t speak,” Bialik explained. “There’s a lot of clues about things in history that I don’t know about. I don’t know how to pronounce the lakes of Africa off the top of my head.”

With Trebek’s ease in other languages, Bialik noted that she didn’t possess his flair for fluency.

“Alex spoke French,” the Call Me Kat star remarked. “It’s a language I do not speak, but there definitely were a lot of clues in French, and I kind of pronounced (things) like a trucker. So definitely had to re-record a lot of pronunciation stuff.”

Mayim Bialik considers permanent ‘Jeopardy!’ hosting gig a ‘dream job’

Bialik admitted to having the jitters before she started her stint at the podium, though she realized she couldn’t come close to Trebek’s status as a Jeopardy! icon.

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“I was terrified,” she revealed. “It’s not like you can even try to fill Alex’s shoes. Everybody kind of holds his energy present on that stage. You still feel him there, and I think I really just wanted to discreetly and humbly take that podium.”

While she’s got a full schedule with her Fox series, Bialik wouldn’t think twice if she was offered the permanent hosting gig.

“There’s not any answer that doesn’t include yes!” she said. “I will say that for me personally, and academically speaking, this is a really, really, really lovely place that I felt so comfortable, and was really honored to be part of it in any way. But obviously feel very strongly that if people find me tolerable, this is a dream job.”