‘Jeopardy!’: Mayim Bialik Previews Juicy Rivalries in ‘National College Championship’

Jeopardy College Championship Mayim Bialik
ABC/Casey Durkin

It’s as close to March Madness as Jeopardy! is going to get! Thirty-six students from three dozen colleges and universities around the country duke it out in this two-week primetime bracket-style tournament. “I love the idea of bringing the college spirit, which is normally associated with athletics, to academics,” says host Mayim Bialik. She tells us more.

Which schools are represented? Will we see any juicy rivalries?

Mayim Bialik: We have Ivy Leagues, very small colleges, historically Black colleges. I was hoping for a UCLA–USC rivalry, but UCLA didn’t get selected. We do have USC, so for a Southern California Bruin, it was exciting to have my state represented.

Jeopardy National College Championship Mayim-Bialik

(Credit: ABC/Casey Durkin)

Are you ever secretly giddy when these very smart people get questions wrong?

Never giddy. I always feel disappointed when anyone gets things wrong, but especially with college-age students. It’s hard! I have a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies, but the breadth of the contestants’ knowledge — I cannot touch that.

Now that you’ve hosted Jeopardy! for a bit, splitting time with Ken Jennings, how does it feel?

My heart is not completely leaping out of my chest, which is what it did for most of the first months. I do feel a little bit calmer.

Your old Blossom costars recently appeared on your Fox comedy Call Me Kat. Has Ken asked for a guest spot yet?

[Laughs] No, I think Ken’s pretty busy. But I would love to have him on if he’s interested.

Jeopardy! National College Championship, Series Premiere, Tuesday, February 8, 8/7c, ABC

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