Levar Burton is the only beloved host we want to see take over ‘Jeopardy!’
First, let’s be clear: Absolutely no one could ever truly replace Alex Trebek. No one. But since Jeopardy! will, likely, go on once all of Trebek’s pre-taped episodes air, a new host will have to be hired. And because Trebek was so universally loved, thousands of fans of the show are hoping another beloved host will take over: LeVar Burton.
While it could be argued that Burton is most well-known from his role as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, an entire generation of Burton fans know him from his tenure as the host of Reading Rainbow on PBS. For 21 seasons, Burton got kids excited to read books and use their imaginations, and for that alone, he is a national treasure.
According to a Change.org petition signed by almost 60,000 people and counting, Burton is the best choice to get the gig. “Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational Reading Rainbow, playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and filling the roll of Kunta Kinte in the ever-important mini-series Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds,” the petition states.
After getting wind of the petition, Burton himself tweeted his gratitude to fans.
If it feels like it’s too soon to discuss Jeopardy!‘s future, that’s because Trebek is entirely synonymous with the show. After a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, Trebek passed away Nov. 8. He hosted the popular quiz show from 1984 up until weeks before he passed away peacefully at home at the age of 80.
While nothing official has come from the folks at Jeopardy!, Burton shared that he’s just grateful his fans thought of him as a possibility.
After facing criticism of a lack of Black contestants on the show back in the mid-’90s, Trebek made a conscious effort to alter the screening test to recruit people of color and regularly feature categories about famous Black people.
“We are trying our darnedest to make America in general more aware of the accomplishments of Black people in this country,” he told The Seattle Times at the time.
Burton, who has a huge fan base and is admired in the same way Mister Rogers and Bob Ross are admired (PBS heroes are the real deal, y’all), would honestly be the perfect addition to the show.
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