Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek left some big shoes to fill—and Sony Pictures Television has decided it will take more than one new permanent host to replace him. After months of guest hosts, game show veteran Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik, former star of The Big Bang Theory, have been named as the new hosts, Variety reports. Richards, who became the show's executive producer last year, will be the regular host; Bialik will host prime-time specials and a possible spinoff. Sony exec Ravi Ahuja says they took the decision "extremely seriously" and a group of senior execs "pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers." Richards will remain executive producer.
When it emerged last week that Richards was a leading candidate, some viewers expressed disappointment that somebody with influence over the show would be the pick, although Richards says it wasn't his decision, the New York Times notes. Other guest hosts since Trebek's death last year included record-breaking contestant Ken Jennings and Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton. In a statement. Richards said he had witnessed Trebek's "professionalism, intensity, and kindness up close and that will serve as the ultimate blueprint as we continue to produce the show we love." Bialik said, "What started out with my 15-year-old repeating a rumor from Instagram that I should guest host the show has turned into one of the most exciting and surreal opportunities of my life!" (Richards, a former producer on The Price Is Right, was named in two discrimination lawsuits against the show.)