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Ken Jennings jokes about Mayim Bialik while hosting ‘Jeopardy!’

Ken Jennings cracked a joke about Mayim Bialik during a recent episode of Jeopardy! as he settled back into his hosting role on the show.

All time Jeopardy! champ Jennings returned to long-running syndicated quiz show on Friday, following the conclusion of the franchise’s High School Reunion Tournamentwhich was hosted by The Big Bang Theory star Bialik.

During Jennings’ time away from screens, a faction of fans complained on social media about his absence, while others were thrilled to see the return of Bialik, who presents the Jeopardy! spinoffs and tournaments.

However, it appears that TV personality Bialik hasn’t been far from the minds of the Jeopardy! production team since stepping away from the lecturers.

On Monday, a video was shared on the Jeopardy! Instagram account that showed a portion of the show where some of the categories appeared to have been named for Bialik’s sitcoms—namely Blossom, The Big Bang Theory other call me cat.

In the clip, Jennings read out a series of categories, including “‘Tis Shakespeare,” “Advertising icons,” “Fill in the Blanket,” “Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

Before reading out the final category titled “Call Me ‘Cat,'” Jennings told the audience and contestants: “I sense a theme.”

“I’m not sure I was the intended host for this game board,” Jennings quipped, as a photo of Bialik was briefly flashed up on the screen.

A caption of the clip shared on Instagram read: “She stays on our minds [blue heart emoji] @missmayim #jeopardy!”

It was confirmed last July that Bialik and Jennings had signed new Jeopardy! contracts after sharing the duties as interim hosts of the show for much of Season 38. They replaced veteran host Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020.

shaper Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards was initially announced as the permanent host in August 2021, but he stepped down just nine days later. Bialik immediately filled in and was later joined by Jennings.

During an appearance on the Inside Jeopardy! Podcast in August, Bialik and Jennings spoke with host Sarah Whitcomb Foss about how they deal with online backlash from fans of the syndicated quiz show.

“We’re still people, so I can’t say that when you hear things that are constructive criticism that you don’t start thinking a little bit too much about it,” Bialik said. “But, I don’t know, I kind of take everybody’s opinion both with a grain of salt and also believe everybody has a right to their opinion.”

For Jennings, the backlash came early, when he saw that some people were “sick of” him in the earlier stages of his run as a Jeopardy! contestant in 2004. Jennings still holds the record of the show’s longest win streak, at 74 episodes.

“Even as a contestant, I remember being shocked at how free—it was the early days of the internet, but people were still very much like, ‘Oh, I’m sick of this guy already.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, there’s like three more months [of me]… This guy’s gonna have a bad summer!’ I just kind of had to dissociate.

“You know what Jeopardy! has got such a big, diverse audience. You’re not going to be able to please everybody every night. But I think that’s the virtue of having a couple of hosts. You know, it’s a big, diverse audience and maybe that helps broaden the tent. It’s a matter of taste hosting style.”

Last June, Bialik opened up about being on the receiving end of harsh comments from some Jeopardy! fans before being announced as a permanent host.

Speaking with Justin Long on an episode of her podcast, the TV personality revealed that viewers often compare her to Jennings.

Actor and comedian Long broached the subject when he asked Bialik if she was ever made aware that she was favored over Jennings by Jeopardy! fans.

“Sometimes,” Bialik responded, adding that “sometimes I get, ‘We don’t prefer you to Ken.'”

Ken Jennings cracked a joke about Mayim Bialik during a recent episode of Jeopardy! as he settled back into his hosting role on the show.

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