Mayim Bialik Wants To Be Told She 'Did Good' Amid 'Jeopardy!' Host Backlash

Mayim Bialik has opened up about craving approval and appreciation as she faces continued backlash for returning to Jeopardy! to host a tournament.

The Call Me Kat star is currently hosting the soon-to-conclude Jeopardy! special High School Reunion Tournament. Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings, who hosts the regular primetime show, will return to the lectern on March 10.

A faction of fans have complained on social media about Jennings' absence, with a number of them commenting that they prefer him hosting the beloved syndicated quiz show to Bialik, who presents the franchise's spinoffs and tournaments.

"Jeopardy!" host Mayim Bialik discusses ego
Mayim Bialik is pictured on May 9, 2017 in New York City. The "Jeopardy!" host this week discussed ego in a podcast episode. Robin Marchant/Getty Images

Amid the continued comments, Bialik this week took to Instagram to preview a clip from her podcast Mayim Bialik's Breakdown, in which she discussed her ego.

Speaking with Buddhist Boot Camp author Timber Hawkeye, she said: "I've actually been noticing, you know, a lot of places where my ego is, it's wanting love, you know. It's wanting acknowledgment in ways that I'm now realizing, 'Oh, that's just ego.'"

"A lot of times, it's the child in me that wants to be told like, 'You did good, you're a good person,'" she added as the seconds-long clip came to a close.

The post sparked a conversation among Bialik's Instagram followers, one of whom commented: "I think everyone just needs to hear we are good-hearted people or that we did good. Actually, we don't say it enough to others. It's so nice to be supported and held up by others. Kindness spreads like wildlife."

"I feel like it's what we missed out on when we were kids or teens, some part of us still craves what we didn't get in our formative years," wrote another.

Another countered: "I don't think it's ego, I think it's just being human. Especially in this day when everyone is ready to attack, we need kind words."

"Sometimes sitting down and being introspective like this can be so difficult but refreshing to see things from a new perspective," noted another. "Love this conversation!"

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 beloved host Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020.

Former 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.'"