The Weird Way Jeopardy Sort Of Brought In A Second Co-Host To Help Lighten Ken Jennings’ Load After Mayim Bialik’s Exit

 Ken Jennings hosts Jeopardy!.
Ken Jennings hosts Jeopardy!.

Jeopardy! fans were surprised when it was announced that Mayim Bialik would not be returning to the iconic quiz show after her early exit from Season 39. However, just when we thought that Ken Jennings finally had the Alex Trebek Stage all to himself, another co-host has made a comeback. Buzzy Cohen has returned, apparently to take some of the work off of Jennings’ hands, but fans of the impeccably dressed former champion shouldn’t expect to see him on their screens anytime soon.

Buzzy Cohen will serve as the host for three play-in games for Jeopardy!’s Champions Wildcard Competition; however, those episodes will be available in audio only at TuneIn Radio. The first two games are already available to stream, with a third coming February 2. The former Jeopardy! champ announced his return to the lectern on Instagram, writing:

It’s strange to see a new host coming in so soon after Mayim Bialik’s exit, but one of the reasons Jeopardy! parted ways with The Big Bang Theory alum was allegdly because of her schedule, so it’s possible that also precluded her from helping out with the Champions Wildcard play-in games. Whether or not Bialik was ever considered to take these games off Ken Jennings’ plate, Buzzy Cohen’s name has always been a part of the hosting conversation.

Buzzy Cohen has become a prominent figure in the Jeopardy! world since he competed on the show in 2016. After accruing $164,603 over nine games, he went on to win the 2017 Tournament of Champions, adding $250,000 to his earnings. He guest-hosted the 2021 TOC following Alex Trebek’s death and now is featured on two official Jeopardy! podcasts, Inside Jeopardy! and This Is Jeopardy!

So what are these play-in games exactly? One user on Reddit attempted to clear up the somewhat-confusing situation. The Champions Wildcard Tournament features former one- and two-day champions returning to compete for a spot in the Tournament of Champions. Because Season 39 featured more than the 27 contestants allowed in the Champions Wildcard bracket, nine players will compete in the play-in games hosted by Buzzy Cohen. The winners of those games will advance to compete in the tournament, which will be hosted by Ken Jennings.

Fans had seemed excited about Ken Jennings finally being named Jeopardy!’s one true host — and former champ Austin Rogers was among those saying Jennings has earned the job — but Redditors seemed to be OK with Buzzy Cohen stepping in with the assist. One commenter wrote:

Gotta say I did not like Buzzy as a contestant, but he blew me away as a host. Clear, concise, kept the game moving, and very professional. He was my choice to replace Alex, with Ken as my 2nd choice. I wouldn’t mind seeing Buzzy host here and there or have more onscreen involvement.

Others had similar reactions, commenting:

  • I love Buzzy..he is awesome on the Jeopardy Podcast. Would like to see him more involved; but not replacing Ken. – disneyjetsfan

  • I would LOVE if Buzzy was host again sometimes – Ann2040

  • I got so excited for a moment, then realized it was audio only. I really hope we get to see him host a full tournament again. He was amazing! – evila_elf

Mayim Bialik still apparently might appear to host Jeopardy! primetime tournaments, but could this be a sign that we might also see some more of Buzzy Cohen as the need arises in the future? We’ll have to wait and see. For now, check your local listings to see Ken Jennings on Jeopardy! in syndication, and take a look at our 2024 TV schedule for what’s coming up.