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Jeopardy! is a staple in college dorms, so it’s only fair that college students get their own chance to compete. The 2022 Jeopardy! National College Championship has a new host. Mayim Bialik steps into prime time after hosting the syndicated game show, and she says you’ll notice a few differences. 

'Jeopardy! National College Championship' host Mayim Bialik stands with a college contestant
L-R: Mayim Bialik and Claire Jackson | Casey Durkin/ABC via Getty Images

Bialik was a guest on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top Five podcast on Feb. 4. When hosts Lesley Goldberg and Daniel Fienberg asked her about the difference between prime time and syndicated Jeopardy!, Bialik was ready to distinguish them. Jeopardy! National College Championship airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on ABC and streams on Hulu.

‘Jeopardy! National College Championship’ host Mayim Bialik glams it up for prime time

Jeopardy! host Bialik didn’t speak to the questions asked of National College Championship contestants. For the Big Bang Theory star, her hair and makeup was the biggest change for prime time. 

“Here’s what we did different for prime time,” Bialik said on TV’s Top Five. “We used some more hair extensions because we wanted a little more vavoom. And we did a little bit bolder makeup because we wanted a little bit more vavoom. Honestly, it’s very important to me the way that I dress. It’s important to me as a feminist. It’s important to me as an unadorned woman. We’ve jazzed it up a little bit for primetime.”

Bialik dresses perhaps more conservatively on syndicated Jeopardy! Not that she is drastically different on National College Championship, but different enough that she made a concerted effort to distinguish it. 

“It was a conscious set of decisions we made,” Bialik said. “Even if nobody notices, it felt good for us. It gave it a different feel. It gave it a different feel for me. Something I wore had a little rhinestone business which we wouldn’t do for syndicated. We just wouldn’t.”

‘Jeopardy! National College Championship’ is not about the host 

While she enjoyed glamming up for prime time, Bialik noted that Jeopardy! National College Championship is not about her. It’s about the college students. (If you want a show that IS about Bialik, try Call Me Kat.)


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“I don’t mean to make it like here’s what my lip gloss looked like,” Bialik said. “I went into it with a little bit of a different spin because primetime is different. And also, it’s like kid energy. It’s teen, they’re late teenagers, many of them, right? I think they still look at me and they’re like, ‘That woman is 90.’ I don’t think it made a difference to them that I looked like I had more hair than an actual 46-year-old woman who had two kids and is losing her hair has. But it made a difference like when you dress up versus when you’re in your robe doing an interview with Leslie and Daniel. It made me feel a little bit different.”

The set got into the school spirit

Jeopardy! National College Championship did dress up the set for the student special. They wanted to make the college students feel at home. 

“The set looked really, really beautiful,” Bialik said. “We were so proud of it with all the little pennants and the lights. We had this trophy. It was fun to have that young energy. It was fun to watch them Snapchatting and all the things that they do having their lunch, hanging out. Jeopardy!’s always fun for me but this tournament was super, super cool. And I cannot wait to watch with my kids because I said to them, ‘I want this to be you in a couple years.’”