June 17, 2024

LeVar Burton says he no longer wants to host ‘Jeopardy!’

After months of fans petitioning to make LeVar Burton the next permanent host of the long-running game show Jeopardy!, the legendary actor has revealed that he no longer wants the gig. 

Speaking to Trevor Noah on The Daily Show Thursday night, Burton reacted to the support from fans during his recent stint Jeopardy! guest host, Yahoo reports.

“You know, we did a Kickstarter several years ago,” Burton explained. “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. 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.”

More than 272,000 signed a Change.org petition, created last fall, to make Burton the next host of Jeopardy!, theGrio previously reported. TMZ confirmed via sources inside the production team at Jeopardy! that the viewer favorite was never given serious consideration for the role as the host of the iconic game show. 

TMZ notes that Sony Studios executives loved Burton, yet didn’t think he was a “right fit.” They said they did speak to him about other projects outside of the syndicated quiz show, roles for which he’s reportedly still being considered.

The actor revealed to Noah on Thursday that he is no longer interested in hosting the beloved game show following the November 2020 death of longtime host Alex Trebek. The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik has been named as an interim host of Jeopardy! 

“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,” revealed Burton.

“What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right, but then, when I didn’t get it, it was, like, well, okay, what’s next? 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,” he added.

A video interview with Trebek in 2018 resurfaced in which, in addition to two other candidates, he named CNN legal analyst Laura Coates as a potential replacement host, theGrio previously reported.

Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards was tapped to host prior to Balik taking over but he stepped down during his first week last month after a scathing report from The Ringer, which alleged that he manipulated the process in his own favor. He also apologized for resurfaced comments he made about women’s bodies, plus Jewish and Asian people on a podcast some years ago. Other allegations of misbehavior came from models on The Price Is Right who filed discrimination lawsuits against him when he was on staff there. 

“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. So we’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be,” Burton told Noah.

This story contains additional reporting from Biba Adams.

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