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“Jeopardy! ”EP Breaks Silence on Hosting Shake-Up, from Mayim Bialik's Firing to How Ken Jennings 'Won the Job'

Executive producer Michael Davies called Bialik a “superb host” — but said more “consistency” was needed on the show

<p>Gregg DeGuire/WireImage;Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty</p> Mayim Bialik; Ken Jennings

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage;Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty

Mayim Bialik; Ken Jennings

The executive producer of Jeopardy! is opening up about the show’s recent host drama.

During the “Unscripted Storytellers” panel at the 2024 Television Critics Association's winter press tour, showrunner Michael Davies reflected on the decision to make Ken Jennings the sole host — and oust Jennings’ former co-host Mayim Bialik.

"When I took over the show, we were really forced into that situation from everything that happened before, the guest hosting period,” Davies said. “Mayim was left hosting the primetime versions; I brought in Ken to guest-host once Mayim had her schedule on her Fox sitcom.”

Related: Ken Jennings Says Jeopardy! Would Take Emma Stone 'In a Heartbeat' — but She Still Has to Pass a Test

He went on to say that Bialik’s exit was justified by a general desire for more “consistency” in the long-running trivia show.

"Over the past two-and-a-half seasons, what we’ve heard from a lot of television stations and other interested parties is that they wanted more consistency,” Davies said during the panel. “They wanted a single host.”

<p>Tyler Golden/ABC via Getty </p> Mayim Bialik hosting an episode of 'Jeopardy!'

Tyler Golden/ABC via Getty

Mayim Bialik hosting an episode of 'Jeopardy!'

And while she is done as a Jeopardy! host, Bialik, 48, may continue to work with the game show in other capacities, the producer shared.

"Mayim is a superb host,” Davies said. “We hope to keep working with her on primetime versions and other spinoffs.”

“Those conversations are ongoing — but Ken really won the job,” he added.

Related: Remembering Alex Trebek's Life and Career in Photos: From Local Canadian TV to Jeopardy!

Bialik first announced that she was let go from her hosting gig at Jeopardy! on Instagram last December.

"As the holiday break begins in Hollywood, I have some Jeopardy! news,” she began the post. “Sony has informed me that I will no longer be hosting the syndicated version of Jeopardy!"

The Big Bang Theory alum went on to say that she is “incredibly honored to have been nominated for a primetime Emmy for hosting this year and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of the Jeopardy! family.”

“For all of you who have supported me through this incredible journey and to the fans, contestants, writers, staff and crew of America's Favorite Quiz Show, thank you,” she concluded.

Related: 'Jeopardy!' Hall of Fame: The Biggest Winners in the Game Show's History

<p>Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty</p> Ken Jennings

Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty

Ken Jennings

Shortly after, Jennings, 49, said he was caught “off guard” by Bialik's sudden exit, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I loved working with my Mayim and I’m going to miss her."

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At the time of her departure, a Jeopardy! spokesperson told PEOPLE: "We made the decision to have one host for the syndicated show next season to maintain continuity for our viewers, and Ken Jennings will be the sole host for syndicated Jeopardy!.

"We are truly grateful for all of Mayim’s contributions to Jeopardy!, and we hope to continue to work with her on primetime specials," they added.

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