Aug. 23 (UPI) — Actress Mayim Bialik will be the first guest host of Jeopardy! after executive producer Mike Richards stepped down as the game show’s permanent host, Sony Pictures Television confirmed Monday.
Bialik, who had already been chosen to host Jeopardy! prime time specials and spin-offs, will fill in as host for the first 15 episodes of the daily show when it resumes production this week, Sony officials told CBS News and CNN Business.
Richards stepped down as the future permanent host of the long-running syndicated show after being selected to replace the late Alex Trebek. His prospects were derailed after controversial remarks he made as a podcast host about women, Jewish people and people with mental disabilities were brought to light.
Bialik was earlier considered a finalist to replace Trebek as the permanent host. She is probably best known to American television viewers for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Sony said additional guest hosts will be announced as the current season continues.
Bialik may now be in a position as the new front-runner for the daily show job if scheduling conflicts with her current Fox sitcom Call Me Kat can be worked out, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
“Now that there is some more time to figure things out, she has become a real viable choice for Sony,” the person said. “It just makes sense to ask her to step in for several weeks while they figure out next steps.”