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Mayim Bialik to guest host “Jeopardy!” after Mike Richards steps down


▶ Watch Video: Mike Richards out as “Jeopardy!” host

Actress Mayim Bialik, who is already slated to host “Jeopardy!” prime time specials and spin-offs, will serve as the guest host of the next 15 episodes of the daily syndicated show, Sony Pictures Television confirmed to CBS News on Monday. The announcement comes after executive producer Mike Richards, who had been chosen to permanently replace Alex Trebek as the host of the daily episodes, stepped down last week due to outrage over his past inappropriate comments.

Bialik, who is most commonly known for her role as Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,”  will tape three weeks worth of episodes when production resumes this week, Sony said. More guest hosts will be announced as the season continues.

When she was chosen to host the prime time specials and spin-offs, Sony chairman Ravi Ahuja said Bialik “has a wonderful energy, an innate sense of the game, and an authentic curiosity that naturally represents the Jeopardy! Brand.”

Earlier this year, the show spent months auditioning a wide range of prominent figures — including Bialik, Richards, “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton and former champion Ken Jennings — to replace Trebek, who hosted the show for more than 35 years before he died last November.

In early August, the show announced that Richards would permanently host the daily episodes, and Bialik would host the prime time specials and spin-offs. But days later, The Ringer published sexist and derogatory comments Richards made on a podcast in 2013 and 2014, sparking backlash against the decision.

Soon after, Richards said he would step down from the role, writing in a memo to staff that “it has become clear that moving forward as host would be too much of a distraction for our fans and not the right move for the show.” Richards will stay on as the show’s executive producer.

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