Jeopardy! has two new hosts, and neither of them is LeVar Burton. And his fans, which have been the most vocal of the 16-guest hosts, aren’t taking the news well.
Sony executives announced Wednesday Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards would take over as host of the syndicated show. However, Mayim Bialik, actress and neuroscientist, will host the primetime shows and spin-offs, Deadline reported. Most outlets predicted that Richards would succeed Alex Trebek, who hosted the show for 37 years. But the addition of Bialik as a secondary host seemed to be a shock to most.
However, the biggest shock for LeVar Burton supporters was the fact that he never really seemed to be in the running. He guest-hosted the show last month for a week to mostly positive reviews. But most news outlets covering the search seemed to have him as a longshot at best.
That said, The Reading Rainbow host’s supporters are not happy that he won’t be behind the Jeopardy! lectern again. And he has some impressive backers.
Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay tweeted that she wanted to create a show for Burton.
New York Times best-selling children’s book author Meena Harris create a LeVar Burton appreciation post that drew hundreds of responses.
One fan tweeted, “Generation Reading Rainbow prepares to put down our books and take up arms.”
“This Jeopardy situation is a mess. Alex said he thought Laura Cotes should get the job. Everybody on social media wanted LeVar Burton. They go with the guy that was inside the house that no one knew. A mess,” someone else posted.
As of posting, LeVar Burton has not responded to the news publicly.
How ‘Jeopardy!’ Picked Richards, Bialik as Hosts
A Sony executive shared a statement explaining how they ended up choosing Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik as Jeopardy! hosts. Ravi Ahuja, Chairman of Global Television Studios and Corporate Development for Sony Pictures, said it wasn’t an easy choice.
“We took this decision incredibly seriously. A tremendous amount of work and deliberation has gone into it, perhaps more than has ever gone into the selection of hosts for a show – deservedly so because it’s Jeopardy! and we are following the incomparable Alex Trebek. A senior group of Sony Pictures Television executives pored over footage from every episode, reviewed research from multiple panels and focus groups, and got valuable input from our key partners and Jeopardy! viewers.”
Richards said he’s ready to carry on the legacy and standards that Trebek set during his 37 years as host.
“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to host the syndicated version of Jeopardy!,” Mike Richards said in a statement. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined being chosen to step into a role of this magnitude.
Bialik tweeted that she is “honored and astounded and excited.” Along with any primetime episodes, Bialik will host a spinoff of the show next year called Jeopardy! National College Championship, Deadline reported.