A little joke. Spot-on reading questions. Some good-natured cajoling in the name of humour. A little sympathetic appreciation. And no sign of nerves.
If all “Danger!” Fans want a return to normalcy when they finally find a permanent host, with Ken Jennings certainly showing that he can deliver on Monday nights.
Seattle residents and “Danger!” GOAT returned to the show’s lectures. Clearly far more comfortable after spending last winter in front of the cameras, she put on a solid performance Monday in her first show as host since she and actor Mayim Bialik were given the interim tag two months ago.
The show was so straightforward that nothing was noticeable except the quality of play and all three contestants were still in contention over the final question.
At the end of the first round of questions, Jennings said, “Look, you’re off to a good start.” “We’re kidding.”
And it was true.
The 47-year-old writer and professional game show participant and producer — Jennings’ other show, “The Chase,” returns in January — “Jopardie!” But the first guest to arrive was the host. After the death of Alex Trebek on November 8, 2020. (Producers marked the anniversary of his death with a notecard at the end of the show that read, “You are missed every day.”)
Rumored to be Trebek’s favorite choice, Jennings earned the highest ratings among guest hosts earlier this year and seemed legitimately in the mix at the start of the show’s 38th Season. Then things went sideways. Brilliantly edged.
Sony Pictures Television announced in August that “Jeopardy!” Executive producer Mike Richards will be the new host, with Bialik serving as a guest presenter on tournaments and prime-time specials. The move was immediately unpopular, and the following week journalists began to highlight the decision with racist and misogynistic content in stories of harsh behavior on the set of “The Price is Right” and dozens of episodes of the podcast he hosted.
Richards was laid off as host after the decision to tape the shows for a week and keep them as the EP of “Jeopardy!” And the “Wheel of Fortune” was so toxic that he even lost that job. Producers named Bialik and Jennings as interim hosts in September.
Bialik and Jennings seem to make a good team. Bialik had been hosting since Richards’ departure. She stepped away from the job to tape the second season of her Fox Network sitcom, “Call Me Cat.”
There have been some complaints about the running of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Blossom” star because of the initial uproar over the opinion of the previous vaccine. His ratings were initially higher than Richards’ and have brought some stability to a show that was desperately in need – with the aid of Super Champion Matt Amodio, who won 38 games in a row (just 36 behind Jennings’ record run).
It is unclear how long or how often Jennings will host. When asked about the schedule this week, a publicist only reiterated that he and Bialik would alternate as needed until the end of the year, when a permanent host (or hosts) would likely be named.
Episodes of the long-running syndicated game show are taped five at a time in a single day, so it’s reasonable to assume that Jennings will host for at least a week or two, and that she will quickly start with a month’s worth of pretapes. The episodes made can pile up.
If he continues to perform like on Monday night, his chances of staying in the job for a long time will only increase.