LeVar Burton Is Over 'Jeopardy!', May Host His Own Game Show Instead
Despite the heartfelt pleas of game show fans on social media, an online petition with nearly 288,000 signatures, and several passionate think pieces discussing his impressive credentials, it seems Jeopardy! has snubbed LeVar Burton, former host of PBS's Reading Rainbow for a second time, once again overlooking the star as a suitable replacement for the beloved, late Alex Trebek as the show's new host.
Weeks after Mike Richards, Jeopardy! executive producer-turned-host resigned from his gig as Trebek's successor and later, his former position on the show after several questionable comments from his past resurfaced, Sony revealed Thursday that The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik and legendary former contestant, Ken Jennings, would host the series “through the end of the calendar year,” per CNN. This move, they explained, would give them more time to land on a permanent host.
While some fans expressed their frustration at how the show snubbed the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor yet again …
… as others kept the faith, campaigning for him to take over as the series's host – a sentiment that has slowly become the game show equivalent of “How Bernie can still win” …
… it seems at this point, Burton himself is over the entire Jeopardy! fiasco, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he's set his professional sights elsewhere.
“You know, we did a Kickstarter several years ago. I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on Reading Rainbow, they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this Jeopardy! thing,” the Roots star recalled. “I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it.”
However, Burton says he later changed his tune, seemingly realizing that he'd rather “compete” on the beloved game show series than serve as its host. “The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, they say be careful of what you wish for, because what I found out is that it wasn’t the thing that I wanted after all,” he continued.
Although Jeopardy!'s showrunners may not have been able to recognize his apparent talent and expertise it seems others have, a sentiment that the star says has come in the form of several new opportunities. “I mean, I wanted the job, but then when I didn’t get it, it was like, ‘Well, OK, what’s next?,’” the actor said. "And so, the opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn’t have dreamt it up. If you had given me a pen and paper and said, ‘Well, so what do you want this to really look like?’ If it doesn’t include Jeopardy! I wouldn’t have been this generous to myself.”
One of those opportunities, Burton revealed? Potentially hosting a different game show. “I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of Jeopardy! But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I’m thinking, ‘Well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do,’" he explained. "So we’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be.”
So folks, if there's anything we can learn from Burton – other than the infinite joys of reading – it's that when one door closes, two doors open, and it seems behind one of those doors, may be a massive – and damn well deserved – game show prize.
Top Image: Jeopardy!