One former “Jeopardy!” guest host decided to take himself out of the running for the future permanent host gig, despite being championed by fans everywhere.
LeVar Burton’s name has been repeated by fans everywhere as Sony Pictures Television struggles to find someone to fill the great Alex Trebek’s shoes. Trebek passed away from stage four pancreatic cancer last November, leaving the game show without its guiding star.
Earlier this summer, Sony tapped executive producer Mike Richards for the job. But Richards’ past controversial comments on a podcast resurfacing led him to step down from the position after filming for just one day. Now, “Jeopardy!” once again searches for its permanent host.
Recently, the trivia show announced that former guest hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings would step in to host the rest of the episodes through the end of 2021. Many fans celebrated this news, while others repeated the same mantra they have been all year: What about LeVar Burton?
But despite expressing his interest in the “Jeopardy!” host position earlier this year, Burton now has second thoughts. He spoke with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show about how the fans’ support has felt this past year.
“You know, we did a Kickstarter several years ago,” Burton said. “I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on ‘Reading Rainbow,’ they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this ‘Jeopardy!’ thing. I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it.”
Why LeVar Burton Doesn’t Want to Host ‘Jeopardy!’ Anymore
Burton went on to explain how that age-old mantra about wishing came true for him.
“The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, they say be careful of what you wish for. Because what I found out is that it wasn’t the thing that I wanted after all,” Burton explained. “What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right, but then, when I didn’t get it, it was, like, well, okay, what’s next?”
Burton’s set his sights on moving forward and focusing on the next path in his career. Luckily, “Jeopardy!” opened up some doors for him.
“The opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn’t have dreamt it up,” Burton continued. “If you had given me a pen and paper and said, well, so what do you want this to really look like? If it doesn’t include Jeopardy!’ I wouldn’t have been this generous to myself.”
He concluded with, “I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of ‘Jeopardy!’ But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I’m thinking, well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do. So we’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be.”