Ahead of his “Jeopardy!” guest-hosting debut, LeVar Burton stopped by “Good Morning America” to discuss this monumental moment in his career — something that’s been ten years in the making.
To kick off the interview, the hosts and Burton couldn’t stop laughing as Robin Roberts explained that she and George Stephanopoulos were merely the “warm up acts” for Burton’s stint. Both Roberts and Stephanopoulos had their own guest-hosting gig on “Jeopardy!”
Burton On ‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Hosting: ‘Tried To Bring As Much Levar To The Moment As I Possibly Could’
His one-week stint as the quiz show’s latest guest host is by far the most intensely anticipated moment of the show’s entire season. Just look at the still active petition with a quarter of a million signatures calling for his permanent spot behind the lectern.
Yet, for Burton, his highest priority was to honor the late and legendary Alex Trebek.
“For me, my standard of excellence is so intense that my initial approach was to try and be as good as Alex was,” he told the co-hosts of “Good Morning America” on Monday. “Of course, I realized right away that that was an impossibility. The man had 37 years to perfect his mastery. I just went out there and tried to bring as much LeVar to the moment as I possibly could.”
During his appearance on the popular morning show, they rolled a teaser of Burton on the iconic set, telling the audience what he hopes to do best during his stint.
“I’m proud to be to be here to honor Alex’s legacy,” he began. “And I’m going to do my best to ensure that these talented “Jeopardy!” contestants enjoy their moment here as well.”
Though you might not have heard about it until recently, Burton has been on his quest to host “Jeopardy!” for quite a long time. Not only did he compete and win “Celebrity Jeopardy!” in 1995, but he’s tweeted about wanting the job for years. Now, as a top contender in the race to replace Trebek, Burton gives all the credit to his devoted fans.
Levar Burton Hopes To Return ‘Investment’ To His Lifelong Fans
“I am the beneficiary of amazing grace,” Burton told the co-hosts about his fans who grew up in the ’80s watching him. “I’ve been asked over the past couple of weeks, ‘What is this about?’ and I think it has something to do with the fact that this generation of adults who grew up on “Reading Rainbow” feel like I have made an investment in them and they are returning the favor.”
For Burton, this acts as a full-circle moment. For decades, he has dedicated his life to using TV to inspire and educate audiences worldwide — and landing a permanent spot on “Jeopardy!” would be the fruition of a lifetime of achievement. With the wait nearly over, this moment is something he’s been actively working towards for decades.
“This is what I’ve been doing my entire career. For 45 years, I’ve been trying to use the medium of television to do more than simply entertain. I know that we have the opportunity when we do it with consciousness to inform, to enlighten, to educate, to even uplift ourselves with the stories that we tell one another. I see “Jeopardy!” is absolutely in the sweet spot of that Venn diagram.”
LeVar Burton beings his “Jeopardy!” journey starting tonight, July 26th, until July 30th.