Actor LeVar Burton is still disappointed that he was not selected as the next host of “Jeopardy!”.
The former “Reading Rainbow” host, now 65, recently sat down with “In the Loop” on Newsy to talk about being passed over the job. The “Star Trek” actor said that he was “not just disappointed, but wrecked” to lose out on the job of a lifetime.
LeVar Burton Still ‘Wrecked’ Over ‘Jeopardy!’ Hosting Snub
After longtime host Alex Trebek passed away from pancreatic cancer in November 2020, the game show held an audition of celebrity guest hosts to fill the role, which included LeVar Burton after an online petition circulated to give him a chance. Burton’s run was even backed by “Deadpool” actor Ryan Reynolds.
Executive producer Mike Richards was chosen to be the next host of “Jeopardy!” before he was subsequently fired as host and EP within a week. “The Big Bang Theory” alum Mayim Bialik, who was hired on only to do tournaments, stepped up to host full-time. Due to her commitments to her Fox sitcom, “Call Me Kat,” “Jeopardy!” Greatest of All Time tournament winner Ken Jennings was brought in to help her.
Burton is still more than a little hurt that he didn’t get the job. He told host Christian Bryant “Experiencing a very public defeat — humiliation, if you will — was sobering. And what I learned from the experience, really, is that it reinforced my belief that everything happens for a reason, even if you cannot discern the reason in the moment.”
Apparently, with the support of the “Jeopardy!” fan base behind him, Burton really thought that he would get the role. “In the fullness of time, everything will be revealed. And like I said, it was I think in that first week of feeling really sort of not just disappointed, but wrecked,” he continued.
He admitted, “I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host.”
LeVar Burton Will Become The Host Of A Brand New Game Show
Although he wasn’t chosen to host “Jeopardy!”, the “Roots” actor was recently selected to host the 2022 Scripps Spelling Bee. And, although he won’t be hosting “Jeopardy!”, he will be both host and creator of a new game show based on Hasbro’s “Trivial Pursuit.”
“The doors have been opened. Windows have been opened,” Burton continued. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I never would have experienced those things that I’m experiencing, like hosting the Scripps Spelling Bee, had I gotten that job.”
“So I think it was a big lesson for me and just being willing to sit in the discomfort long enough to find out what was really supposed to happen for me around this game show thing,” he added.
Burton, who described himself as a lifelong fan of the show, does think that the job was rigged from the beginning.
“The truth is it was my favorite game show. It really was. I mean, I watched that show since I was in the third grade and Art Fleming was the host,” Burton shared.
“And I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it,” he continued. “As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition, after all — the fix was in.”
Although he didn’t get the hosting position he wanted, he still admitted that the experience taught him a lot.
“I believe I’m still mining some of the takeaways from that experience,” he explained. “First and foremost, I’m a firm believer in betting on myself, and I would encourage anyone and everyone out there to believe similarly in themselves.”
Burton added, “I’m always going to bet on me.”
LeVar Burton’s comments can be seen in the video below.