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Mayim Bialik opens up about guest-hosting 'Jeopardy!': 'An unbelievable honor'

Bialik talked about her love for the long-running quiz show in an interview with TODAY.
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Mayim Bialik was recently announced as an upcoming "Jeopardy!" guest host.Amanda Edwards / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Mayim Bialik is an accomplished actor, author and scientist — so it's no surprise that "Jeopardy!" tapped her as an upcoming guest host.

The "Big Bang Theory" star joins a group that also includes journalist Katie Couric, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker, who'll step in to celebrate the legacy of Alex Trebek.

"It is an unbelievable honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence as 'Jeopardy!' and I’m especially honored to be able to represent women who love game shows and facts and all things geek — especially when they combine with something as entertaining as 'Jeopardy!'" Bialik told TODAY in an interview via email.

Mayim Bialik played neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on "Big Bang Theory."CBS via Getty Images

Bialik praised Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 80 in November.

"He really was the quintessential host," she said. "He was friendly but not too friendly; he was smart but not unapproachable. He had a warm smile and a great sense of humor and he was incredibly professional."

Bialik, who rose to fame as the title teen on NBC's "Blossom" in the early '90s, has been watching "Jeopardy!" her whole life, as she wrote in a recent Instagram post.

"I remember I have been the answer more than once and that really freaked me out as a teenager!" she revealed. "I often get really anxious having to answer things on the spot, so the show always made me a little bit anxious, but I hope that as a host I will be less anxious!"

"The show has made an impact on our culture," she added. "The song is arguably one of the most ubiquitously known tunes and the notion of answers coming in the form of questions is endlessly entertaining. I also love that for those of us who love facts and factoids, there’s a place where we can really try and shine."

So, how is Bialik preparing for her upcoming gig?

"Mostly, I think I need to find a nice blazer!" she shared. "I guess I’ve been preparing my whole life for something like this!"

Bialik, who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience and has been nominated for four Emmys for her work as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on "The Big Bang Theory," has many talents, which made us wonder about her preferences for categories on the long-running quiz show.

"I really like a good pun, so I like punny categories," she said. "I also hold a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies so anything in those categories in terms of biblical history or liturgical text I tend to excel at. Weird flex, I know."

As for what fans can expect for her hosting style, Bialik explained: "I essentially plan to be myself and hope that people like that! I’ve spent a lot of time in the last several years of my career making a name for myself as a thinker and a communicator of a lot of intellectual and personal tidbits about myself and the world around me through my YouTube channel, and now, my mental health podcast, 'Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown.' I see this kind of guest hosting gig as an extension of all of the things about me that I get to bring to this immense responsibility. Plus, I get to do it in a blazer."

Another new project Bialik is excited about is "Flash Facts," a graphic novel anthology for middle schoolers she curated, which uses DC Comics superheroes to teach STEM principles.

"I’m so happy I got to combine my love for science, technology, engineering and mathematics with my love of the comic book format to engage young people," she said. "It really is a perfect combination of everything I love!"

"We are learning more and more that making the STEM fields attractive to young people means meeting them where they’re at," she continued. "Many kids can learn from history textbooks but many, including myself, can benefit from creative presentation of these kinds of principles. It shows that there is a fun and creative way to understand and even have a career in STEM fields."

Bialik said the book will resonate with kids because it's visually engaging and pairs superhero characters with topics such as virtual reality, climate change and forensics.

She added, "I wish this was around when I was in middle school, for sure!"

Bialik will host "Jeopardy!" from May 31 to June 11.