LeVar Burton Says He’ll Be ‘Hurt’ If He Doesn’t Land Jeopardy! Hosting Job: I Feel Like It’s What I’m Supposed To Be
Alex Trebek died at 80 years old last November following a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He previously renewed his contract with Jeopardy! through 2022.
Since Alex Trebek’s passing, LeVar Burton has shared his aspirations to become the new host, including reposting a petition that calls for him to get the job.
He got one step closer as he was selected as a guest host for the end of the current 37th season. His episodes will air July 26 – 30.
Now, the Reading Rainbow personality is sharing how he would feel if he doesn’t get the permanent gig. He told The New York Times,
“It will hurt. I’m not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It’s all going to be OK. Because it always is.”
“I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. 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.”
He ran down his credentials and said,
“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! executive producer Mike Richards spoke on LeVar’s aspirations in April and said,
“LeVar and I’ve been speaking for a very long time. I think he was the first person to reach out to me after Alex passed away, so this is not a new conversation.”
He added that after multiple conversations,
“What we’re going to look for is the best candidate for the show. We’ve been very clear, and how we have approached the guest hosts is that we are going to not limit it to anyone based on anything. We’re going to look for the best people. That would be the ‘Jeopardy!’ way.”
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