Following months of fans campaigning on his behalf, LeVar Burton has finally been named as a guest host for Jeopardy! Last year, the late, great Alex Trebek passed away after decades of an unforgettable run as the popular game show's longtime host. Replacing him will not be easy, and for now, the show's producers have been relying on temporary guest hosts to keep the series moving forward.
"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. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time," Burton said of the news on Twitter.
For months, LeVar Burton's name has come up consistently with fans suggesting the Reading Rainbow host and Star Trek: The Next Generation star as the next permanent host. A plethora of other celebrities have been called upon to host new episodes in the time since, but that list hasn't included Burton until now. The beloved television star was named on the list of this season's final temporary guest hosts, finally giving Burton his chance to host Jeopardy!.
Along with Burton, the remaining guest hosts for season 37 will include Good Morning America coanchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Executive producer Mike Richards has also revealed that former Celebrity Jeopardy! champion and CNBC journalist David Faber will also serve as a guest host, as will sportscaster Joe Buck. Previous season 37 guest hosts have included Anderson Cooper, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Savannah Guthrie, Bill Whitaker, Mayim Bialik, Katie Couric, Ken Jennings, and Aaron Rodgers.
"Our goal has been to present a wide variety of guest hosts with different skill sets and backgrounds on our path to finding a permanent host," Richards said. "Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening. All of the guest hosts have brought individualism, energy and an authentic love of our show to each of their episodes. We look forward to sharing the rest of the season with our viewers."
While it's excellent to see Burton getting the chance to host Jeopardy!, some fans might be disappointed that the gig is still temporary at this time. The good news is that each of the guest hosts has been essentially auditioning to stay on a permanent basis if they take to the job well. It remains to be seen how Burton fares once he's up on the stage, but the actor himself feels quite confident going into the job.
"I am a huge Jeopardy! fan. Have been since I was kid going back to the days of Art Fleming," Burton told Joshua Johnson on The Week last month. "In many respects, I feel like I have been preparing my whole life for the job...should that job come my way, I would be exceedingly glad."
A popular petition on Change.org had been made by fans for Burton to host Jeopardy!, and it managed to pull in over 246,000 signatures. Many other celebrities have also endorsed Burton getting the job, such as The Weakest Link host Jane Lynch and legendary TV star Dick Van Dyke. Needless to say, there are a lot of people that will be quite thrilled to learn of Burton hosting the show, albeit temporarily. Odds are he'll be in the running to ultimately serves as a permanent host as well. This news comes to us from Deadline.