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Jeopardy!’s Loss: LeVar Burton Developing His Own Game Show

LeVar Burton on Jeopardy

LeVar Burton has been talking about what happened with Jeopardy!’s hosting debacle and sat down with Trevor Noah for The Daily Show to completely unpack everything that went on. Guest hosting the popular game show back in July, Burton was a fan favorite to take over after the passing of Alex Trebek, and part of that desire, I think, comes from us growing up with Burton on things like Reading Rainbow.

But as we are still waiting for a new host to emerge, Burton seems to have settled on not taking over the show and moving in another direction: His own new game show that he’s “cooking up”!

“You know, we did a Kickstarter several years ago,” Burton says. “I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on Reading Rainbow, they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this Jeopardy! thing. I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it.”

Burton is referring to the influx of support he got from fans online when he simply said that he’d like to try hosting. And we all banded together, watched his episodes, and were proven right in our support. The problem? Those behind Jeopardy! don’t seem to listen to what fans of the show (and Burton) want. There was the Mike Richards saga, and now both Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik are hosting through the rest of 2021 because the show seems to only want white men for the main hosting gig.

But it isn’t something that Burton seems too worried about.

“The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, they say be careful of what you wish for, because what I found out is that it wasn’t the thing that I wanted after all,”  Burton went on. “What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right, but then, when I didn’t get it, it was, like, well, okay, what’s next? And, so, the opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn’t have dreamt it up. If you had given me a pen and paper and said, well, so what do you want this to really look like? If it doesn’t include Jeopardy! I wouldn’t have been this generous to myself.”

The experience clearly left its mark on him, though. He might not be the host of Jeopardy! but it did open a door that he never thought of before, as he said, “I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of Jeopardy! But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I’m thinking, well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do. So we’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be.”

I’m happy for LeVar Burton figuring out what is best for him and heading in a different direction. It still would have been nice to have him as the host of Jeopardy! 

(via Mediaite, image: ABC)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.