With a new gig as Jeopardy! host and a TV reunion, Mayim Bialik reflects on a career year
CTVThese days, there’s little question that Mayim Bialik is one of television’s busiest talents.
Not only is the actress continuing her duty as a Jeopardy! host—splitting the syndicated weeknight version with Ken Jennings, and also presiding over special ABC primetime editions (including a college championship coming in February)—she’s starting season two of her sitcom follow-up to The Big Bang Theory. Returning Sunday, Fox’s Call Me Kat finds Bialik’s cat café owner thrilled when her little eatery is visited by Joey Lawrence, Jenna von Oy and Michael Stoyanov... stars of Kat’s favourite childhood show Blossom (on which Bialik herself, of course, played the title character back in the ’90s).
With a new showrunner (Alissa Neubauer) guiding Kat for its sophomore outing, Bialik reflects that in adapting this sitcom from the British series Miranda, former executive producer Darlene Hunt “created all of these fabulous characters and this world for us to play in, and Alissa is taking it to its next level. I think people will be very pleased that there’s a real deepening of all the characters. Everybody is just really shining this season, and it’s great.”
Two characters now have Kat in the middle of a love triangle, since she has to decide between longtime pal Max (Cheyenne Jackson) and new beau Oscar (Christopher Rivas). “I think a lot of our show rings true for women in particular,” Bialik reasons, “but also for anyone who’s ever felt like they’re a little bit on the outside of what ‘the norm’ is. Cheyenne Jackson has said that our show is about different kinds of lonely people. They sort of build their own community of friends who come together, even though they have parts missing.”
CTVKyla Pratt, Julian Gant and Emmy-winners Swoosie Kurtz and Leslie Jordan also continue as co-stars. Expectedly, Bialik—also an executive producer of the show, along with fellow Big Bang Theory alum Jim Parsons—was excited to bring her former Blossom cohorts aboard for the season premiere. “We really grew up together,” she acknowledges. “We were each other’s social group, and we have a similar sense of humour and way that we speak. It’s like having siblings around.”
Devoting three weeks of each month to filming Call Me Kat, Bialik—also very visible now in commercials in her real-life “role” as a neuroscientist—uses the other one for her podcast (Mayim Bialik’s Breakdown) and her Jeopardy! work. “There have been upsides to this past year of my life and career that I never would have predicted,” she notes. “I’m sort of getting to have an open mind and see where all of these aspects will take me. It’s been like a really good roller coaster.”
Call Me Kat airs Sundays at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. on Fox and 8 p.m. on CTV