‘Jeopardy!’: Why Some Fans Think Guest Hosting Process Was ‘Rigged’ Against LeVar Burton

by Clayton Edwards

LeVar Burton was one of the most anticipated guest hosts in the last season of Jeopardy!. However, he didn’t make the final cut. Instead, Sony named Mike Richards as the host of daily episodes of the show. Additionally, they tapped Big Bang Theory alum, Mayim Bialik to host the show’s primetime spinoffs. That decision left Burton’s fans and supporters angry. They were as vocal about their anger at the show as they were with their support of the former Reading Rainbow host.

For many, it was a total disappointment. However, some fans are taking it a step further. Those fans are wondering if LeVar Burton was the victim of some kind of host selection conspiracy. They think that Mike Richards rigged the contest in his favor. After all, he is the show’s executive producer and had a hand in the selection process.

One Redditor cited an article from The AV Club that hinted at some shady dealings behind the scenes. The article quotes a Jeopardy! insider in saying that Richards was the one who gave tips and direction to guest hosts. Furthermore, the article says that guest hosts didn’t realize that they were competing with Richards for the job. It is curious that fan favorites like LeVar Burton and Aaron Rodgers didn’t make the final cut.

Another Redditor discussed how Richards had his hands in other parts of the selection process. They laid on the subtle ways in which the executive producer could sabotage LeVar Burton and other guest hosts. For one, Richards was in charge of picking the slate of guest hosts. He was also in charge of re-taping and editing episodes. Furthermore, Mike Richards worked with focus groups who helped to pick the winner. In fact, he chose the footage that went to those groups.

Some Fans Aren’t Buying the LeVar Burton Conspiracy

LeVar Burton is a favorite among Jeopardy! fans. However, not everyone enjoyed his stint as guest-host. We know that he had low ratings on the show. However, the Olympics and NBA Draft could have had some effect on those ratings. Still, even some people who support Burton say his performance on the show wasn’t up to snuff.

One commenter pointed out the LeVar Burton admitted to not preparing for the hosting gig. Others piled on saying that he made many mistakes during his hosting stint. Other commenters said that he overacted the whole time he was behind the lectern. So, it could have been his performance that stopped him from getting the hosting job. However, that doesn’t explain away all of the shady things that allegedly happened behind the scenes.

Luckily for LeVar Burton and his supporters, Mike Richards stepped down. So, there is once again a slot to fill. Maybe Burton will get the position this time.