Will LeVar Burton follow the reading rainbow to a permanent hosting gig?
There’s no one who can truly replace Alex Trebek. The beloved original host of Jeopardy! is a legend, and the world is still very much mourning his passing last year. But in his absence, the show has been filming its 37th season with a revolving cast of guest hosts, and this one has fans pretty dang excited: actor, director, educator, Reading Rainbow host and Jeopardy! superfan LeVar Burton will take a turn as host this summer.
Vanity Fair reports that Burton will have a two-week stint that will air sometime over the summer, near the end of the show’s 37th season. And the Reading Rainbow alum is in some seriously good company — CNBC’s David Faber and Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts are also slated to take turns as hosts this summer.
But what’s different about Burton is how passionate he is about this role. In an appearance on the USA Today podcast The Mothership on Friday, he spoke about his Jeopardy! dreams.
“I feel as strongly about my rightness for this as I did about Kunta and Geordi,” he said, referencing his iconic characters from Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation. “And I’m that invested in getting the job.”
He’s been all over the place talking about it, telling BNC News, “I’ve had my eye on that job for a long time.”
Burton also has some pretty intense public support. A Change.org petition has been circulating, calling for him to be made the permanent new host of Jeopardy!, and it’s collected almost a quarter of a million signatures so far. When the people want something this much, you should give the people what they want. Burton himself retweeted it and it’s just nice to see him realizing this long-held dream.
On Twitter, Burton thanked his fans for their “passionate support,” which he says probably helped him nab the guest hosting job.
“THANK YOU… to all y’all for your passionate support! I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!, and will do my utmost best to live up to your faith you in me,” he wrote. “YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time.”
Other Jeopardy! guests hosts have included Katie Couric, Dr. Oz, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Anderson Cooper, who is in the middle of his hosting stint right now. Still to come are Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik. While those are some impressive names, we can’t help but be just a little extra excited about LeVar Burton.