Ahead of his debut as a guest host on this season of Jeopardy! LeVar Burton continues to lobby for sticking around on a full-time basis. Since the show’s Emmy-winning host Alex Trebek passed away in November, the long-running game show has employed various celebrity guest hosts to fill in for a limited time. Finding the right successor for Trebek is obviously no easy task, and the producers were in no rush to name a permanent replacement.
From the start, many fans have called for LeVar Burton to become the next Jeopardy! host. A popular petition was launched online for him to get the job, and it has since been signed by more than 255k supporters. Burton himself has even shared the petition on social media and publicly expressed his desire to get the job, should it be offered. He has since been announced as this season’s final guest host.
Speaking about hosting Jeopardy! in a new interview with the New York Times, LeVar Burton opened up about his wish to stay on board the game show as its permanent host moving forward. As the Reading Rainbow host explains, everything about it makes sense from his point of view. From the interview:
“There’s something inside me that says this makes sense. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant. Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow. Won a Grammy. Got a shelf full of Emmys. I’m a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories. There’s a contest, there’s comedy, there’s drama. If you don’t know you’re [expletive] on Jeopardy! you’re sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that.”
Burton may be hopeful, but he knows it’s possible he won’t get the job. He admits that he will feel “hurt” if he ultimately gets passed over. Even so, in true Burton fashion, he adds that he’ll get over it rather quickly, going by the old adage that everything happens for a reason.
“It will hurt. I’m not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It’s all going to be OK. Because it always is.”
Mayim Bialik is another guest host from this season who was praised for her stint on the show, so she would appear to be in the running along with Burton. Some of the other guest hosts for this season included Anderson Cooper, Ken Jennings, Dr. Oz, Aaron Rodgers, Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Bill Whitaker, and Buzzy Cohen. Executive producer Mike Richards has suggested that all of the guest hosts will be considered.
“I think we want to look at everyone,” Richards said in February, per USA Today. “We’re going to look at the guest hosts, we want to see how the community reacts, how people feel. I felt it was very important to not choose someone right away, because we are all still mourning Alex, we all still miss him.”
As far as when a permanent host will be named, Richards added: “My guess is it’s going to be the end of this season or the summer when we’re going to make that announcement. That decision hasn’t been made. It’s not like I’ve got the person and I’m just holding them back. We’re legitimately looking at some of these (guest hosts), and some of them are just there for charity and to show their love of the game.”
Best of luck to Burton on landing his dream job of hosting Jeopardy! on a full-time basis. We’ll see how he does as a guest host when his episodes air from July 26-30. This news comes to us from The New York Times.
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