On Friday, an interview with upcoming Jeopardy! guest host LeVar Burton revealed the celebrity’s thoughts about taking over the game show permanently.
Burton has been vocal about his desire to replace longtime host Alex Trebek. He even had thousands of fans sign a Change.org petition for him to become the next host. As of today, more than 250,000 fans have signed the petition.
As a star in movies and on television, and as the previous host of Reading Rainbow, Burton does have a solid resume for the job. However, it’s more than just another job for the actor and host. Burton truly feels a connection to Jeopardy! and says there’s “something inside” him that tells him he’s perfect for the position.
“It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do,” Burton told the New York Times. “I have been watching Jeopardy! more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host.”
“Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant,” Burton added. “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 your [expletive] on Jeopardy! you’re sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that.”
‘Jeopardy!’ Producer Talks About Upcoming Guest Host LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton is taking over Jeopardy! from July 26 to July 30. And it’s thanks to his own determination and the requests of thousands that we’ll see him behind the podium soon. Last month, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards opened up about Burton and the many fans who have supported him.
Richards spoke with USA Today in mid-May about the ongoing hunt for Trebek’s permanent replacement. The conversation inevitably turned to Burton and his legion of fans making sure he got an opportunity on the game show.
“We want to hear from our fans,” Richards said to USA Today. “And I’m online every day looking at it and checking it out. But we’ve got to be careful about the 20,000 people or whatever that are screaming the loudest.”
“We’re pretty astute in the way that we approach that,” Richards explained. “What we’re going to look for is the best candidate for the show, and we’re not going to limit it to anyone based on anything. That would be the ‘Jeopardy! way.'”
In fact, after Alex Trebek passed away, Richards said Burton was the first person to contact him about the opening. The executive producer says they’ve had an ongoing conversation ever since. In addition, Richards is excited that Burton will get to make an appearance on the game show.
“LeVar and I’ve been speaking for a very long time,” Richards said to USA Today. “I think he was the first person to reach out to me after Alex passed away, so this is not a new conversation.”
“It came down to LeVar … speaking to his passion and really believing that he would be a great fit to be a guest host. And as we came down to the final group, we were excited to get it all to work together.”