Stars turn up for ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’ every week now

ABC version features Mayim Bialik as host

Mayim Bialik

“It’s the new weekly version of what once was a game show’s annual event.”

“What is ‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’?”

That’s the correct answer — or question — as ABC spins off the concept (last staged on “Jeopardy!’ in 2015) into its own series starting Sunday, Sept. 25. Mayim Bialik, who splits hosting duties with Ken Jennings on the syndicated weeknight edition of the parent contest, presides over sessions that pit three personalities against one another to play for charity.

“I have no sneaking suspicions when it comes to this arena,” Bialik says with a laugh in maintaining she didn’t foresee an every-week “Celebrity Jeopardy!” coming. “Not to compare, but ‘Jeopardy!’ requires a lot of intellectual capacity, so it’s a different kind of competition … and one that’s especially fun to have celebrities on.”

Among the famous names stepping up to the latest “Celebrity Jeopardy!” challenge are Ray Romano, Patton Oswalt, Aisha Tyler (“Criminal Minds”), Simu Liu (“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”), Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Michael Cera (“Arrested Development”), B.J. Novak (“The Office”), comic Iliza Shlesinger and WNBA veteran Candace Parker.

Despite her famously brainy image that was reinforced by her Amy character on “The Big Bang Theory,” Bialik never has played “Celebrity Jeopardy!” herself. She allows, “I would be terrified! I would break into a cold sweat just to stand there. As the host, I have a lot of compassion for whatever (the celebrity players) are going to be going through.”

Having recently directed her first feature film, the Dustin Hoffman-starring “As They Made Us,” Bialik is hoping to do more of that “in theory, since the writing is where it all starts.” Meanwhile, she has a rare encounter with “Jeopardy”-mate Jennings coming up: He guest-stars in the Season 3 premiere of her Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat” Thursday, Sept. 29, marking only the second time they’ve actually met.

“He and I are rarely in the same place,” Bialik confirms, “so it was nice to get to spend some time together. We poked fun at him (on ‘Kat’), and he was a really good sport.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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