After the tragic death of Alex Trebek in 2020, fans knew that Jeopardy! would never be quite the same. The iconic host had been with the show since the very first episode in 1984, after all, and acted as the face of the game show through thousands of episodes that followed.
Alex Trebek will forever be synonymous with Jeopardy!, making the task of filling his shoes impossible. The show must go on, however, and even though there would never be another Alex Trebek, the search for a new host began.
After a rocky stretch with Mike Richards at the helm, Jeopardy! producers set their sights on a joint role to bridge the gap until they could choose a permanent host. Though Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bailik and Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings were ultimately chosen, Reading Rainbow icon LeVar Burton was also on the short list of options.
In a recent interview with Newsy, LeVar Burton opened up about the “humiliating” experience of being passed over for Jeopardy! host. Referring to Jeopardy! as “the show that shall not be named” a la Harry Potter, Burton said that hosting the Scripps National Spelling Bee helped him through the difficult time.
“The truth is, it was my favorite game show,” Burton explained of the injurious rejection. “It really was. I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it. As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition after all. The fix was in.”
“Experiencing a very public defeat – a humiliation, if you will – was sobering,” he continued. “I think it was in that first week of feeling really, sort of, not just disappointed, but wrecked. I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host.”
‘Jeopardy’ Fans Express Disappointment in LeVar Burton Snubbing
Does having the winningest Jeopardy! champion of all time behind the hosting lectern make sense? Of course. But LeVar Burton, the soothing host of Reading Rainbow, seems like a fantastic choice as well.
Though many Jeopardy! fans adore Ken Jennings as host, they also feel LeVar Burton was a strong contender. In response to his recent tell-all interview, fans took to social media to express their disappointment in the treatment of the beloved Reading Rainbow host.
“He would have been a great Jeopardy host,” one fan wrote. “LeVar Burton seems like such a wonderful person. Something about saying ‘getting the call to host the national spelling bee was a balm’ just screams cream of the crop kind of guy. It’s fully Jeopardy’s (and all of our) loss.”
Dang, that’s disappointing to read that the whole Jeopardy situation really was as bad as it looked from the outside.— Tom Londe (@TomLonde) June 1, 2022