“Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton might have been dealt a bad hand in his “Jeopardy!” audition, but his dream of becoming the host of a trivia game show did not fall on deaf ears.
When “Jeopardy!” first announced that they were holding celebrity auditions to see who would be best suited to fill the shoes of the late Alex Trebek, fans demanded to know why Burton wasn’t included in that list.
Fans Demand LeVar Burton Get A Chance On The ‘Jeopardy!’ Stage
Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015 Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him. It was awkward because I agreed with them but the studio didn’t see it. Ultimately the fans won and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful.
No Ad to show
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 20, 2021
No Ad to show
Fans immediately started an online petition asking “Jeopardy!” producers to give Burton a chance, with even “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds tweeting out his support for Burton.
“Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015 Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him,” Reynolds tweeted. It was awkward because I agreed with them but the studio didn’t see it. Ultimately the fans won and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful. Hi @levarburton.”
Although fans were initially relieved that Burton would finally get a chance behind the iconic podium, their joy quickly turned to anger as Burton’s run was aired the same week as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Many networks chose to replace “Jeopardy!” with coverage of the Olympics, which meant that many fans were unable to watch Burton’s episodes.
It also meant that Burton’s week drew in the least number of viewers out of all of the guest hosts, which included CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Although Burton was thankful to be given the chance to audition at all, it seems that TV execs realized there was a big demand for Burton and decided to give fans what they wanted by making Burton the host of a brand new game show.
LeVar Burton Chosen To Host ‘Trivial Pursuit’
Burton has been selected to host a game show based on the popular Hasbro trivia game “Trivial Pursuit.”
Burton is also named as executive producer of the show through his production company, LeVar Burton Entertainment.
The “Star Trek” actor said of his new role: “Trivial Pursuit is one of the best-known brands in the gaming universe. I am thrilled to have partnered with Hasbro and eOne to bring this beloved game to market as a premium show for television.”
President of Global Unscripted Television at eOne, Tara Long, added that Burton’s “love for intellectual curiosity paired with his ability to connect with audiences worldwide make him the perfect partner to bring Hasbro’s beloved trivia game to households in a new and exciting way.”
Although there is no release date for the series, it will air on eOne, which was acquired by Hasbro in 2019 and includes popular shows such as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.”
As for “Jeopardy!”, a permanent host has not been announced. However, “The Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik and “Jeopardy!” G.O.A.T. Ken Jennings will share hosting duties for the rest of 2021. Jennings has stepped into hosting duties for regular gameplay while Bialik works on her Fox sitcom “Call Me Kat.” However, Bialik will host the show’s first-ever Professor’s Tournament, which is scheduled to start on December 6 and will run through December 17, 2021.