HomeAmerican Entertainment‘Jeopardy!’: LeVar Burton Opens Up About What Losing the Hosting Job Taught Him

‘Jeopardy!’: LeVar Burton Opens Up About What Losing the Hosting Job Taught Him

by Joe Rutland
levar burton photo
(Photo by Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

While actor-director LeVar Burton did not get the hosting gig on Jeopardy!, he said that he did learn something from the mess. Burton, 66, was a contender to take over from Alex Trebek, who died in November 2020.

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“It really cemented to me that everything happens to me for a reason, right?” Burton said in an interview with the A.V. Club that was published on Monday. He added that the loss did send him swirling into a period of self-reflection. Now, Burton believes the experience taught him “the perfect nature of all things.”

LeVar Burton Said He Thought That He Had ‘A Really Good Shot’ At Getting ‘Jeopardy!’ Role

“I thought that I had a really good shot at getting the job,” Burton told A.V. Club, the New York Post reports. “What I didn’t know at the time was that it really wasn’t an audition.” Burton lost out to Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards. He scored a short-lived stint as the show’s lead in August 2021,

Richards lasted just three weeks. He stepped down after some allegations came to light about sexist language and his “insensitivity” in the past. Ken Jennings and Mayin Bialik would become permanent co-hosts on the game show.

“The executive producer, the man who was hired to teach me how to play the game, who said he didn’t want the job but his job was to help them find the right person for the job, that person gave themselves the job,” Burton said of Richards. He didn’t refer to him by his name. “I was disappointed — I’m not gonna lie,” Burton said. “I had to really sit down and try to figure out: So what — what happened here? What went wrong?”

Burton Found Other Projects To Keep Him Going

Burton did get other projects going, though. Back In November 2021, he was named as host of the Trivial Pursuit game show based on the Hasbro board game.

He also hosted the 2022 Grammys pre-show in March and the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June 2022. “I think sometimes in life we need to be willing to sit in the discomfort of things, before you get to the reason before you get to the goodie,” Burton said. “And sometimes just being willing to be uncomfortable is the purpose. Because the gift is on the other side.”

Burton was an executive producer for a new documentary titled The Right to Read, released in February. It puts a light on the nation’s literary crisis through an NAACP activist, a teacher in Oakland, California, and two families currently struggling with access to literacy education.