LeVar Burton hosted “Jeopardy!” Monday night, and his performance as quizmaster prompted fans of the show to say that he should be the quiz show’s permanent host.
Burton, a veteran actor, former “Reading Rainbow” host and star in “Star Trek,” will be the “Jeopardy!” guest host for the next week. He taped his episodes several months ago, which spurred some considerable hype leading up to it. Burton had been gunning for the spot of at least guest host on “Jeopardy!” for some time now as well. He signed a fan petition to make him the show’s next host in 2013 and said three years ago that “there is only one game show I’ve ever wanted to host… This Is Jeopardy!”
“Jeopardy!” has been without a permanent host since the beloved emcee — and host of 37 seasons since 1984 — Alex Trebek passed away last November. The show has rotated through guest hosts with no indication that it will pick a permanent person to stand behind the podium, including Ken Jennings, Dr. Oz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and NFL star Aaron Rodgers. But Burton’s performance as host is leading people to request that the network put him in charge of the show full-time.
“It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense,” Burton recently told The New York Times. “I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I have been watching ‘Jeopardy!’ more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host. ‘Jeopardy!’ is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant.”
The Emmy-winning actor and “Roots” star also told “Good Morning America,” he felt he is “the beneficiary of amazing grace. I think [the mounting online support] has something to do with the fact that this generation of adults who grew up on ‘Reading Rainbow’ feel like I have made an investment in them, and they are returning the favor.”
There’s certainly ample support for Burton’s potential as a permanent “Jeopardy!” host, including from past contestants.
Franklin Leonard, a 1999 “Jeopardy!” contestant, said on Twitter Monday, “As a former Jeopardy loser (July 13, 1999), I would like to formally endorse @levarburton as the new host of Jeopardy.”
Check out some more reactions to Burton’s guest hosting gig below. Burton’s first episode hosting “Jeopardy!” airs at 4 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST Monday, July 26.