Dick Van Dyke has thrown his support behind fellow television star LeVar Burton to be the next permanent host of Jeopardy!. In November, longtime host Alex Trebek sadly passed away following a battle with cancer, and his absence has created a tremendous void in the show. Because replacing him seems impossible, the game show is making use of temporary hosts to fill in until a permanent replacement can be named.
For months, there has been a popular fan campaign for Reading Rainbow host and Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton to get the job. One popular petition on Change.org calls for Burton to get the job, and with new names getting added frequently, the movement has reached more than 186,000 signatures. Burton has since shared the petition on Twitter to make it clear that he's interested if Jeopardy! gives him the call.
Now, Burton has been surprised with another beloved television star signing the petition. Dick Van Dyke tweeted out the link to the petition, encouraging his followers to join the campaign to turn Burton into the next Jeopardy! host. A look at the petition also reveals that "Dick & Arlene Van Dyke" have personally signed it as well. Stoked to get the ringing endorsement of such a beloved television legend, Burton couldn't help but tweet back, "OMG!"
Other celebrities are starting to get in on the craze for Burton to succeed Trebek. The Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked in a tweet, "I think LeVar Burton should host Jeopardy! As Geordi La Forge. And the buzzers should be phasers. And Data should be the judge. And it should be in space. And just be Star Trek."
Speaking about the subject on The Week with Joshua Johnson last month, Burton addressed the fan desire for him to host Jeopardy!. "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," Burton told Johnson on the program. The news caught the attention of The Weakest Link host Jane Lynch, who suggested Burton is "such a solid choice of a host!"
"Thanks, Jane... High praise coming from you!" Burton responded at the time.
Championship player Ken Jennings served as the first temporary guest host following Trebek's death. Other guest hosts include Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Oz, Aaron Rodgers, and Mayim Bialik. More guest hosts are expected to be named soon as there's no indication that the permanent replacement will be named imminently.
Oddly enough, Burton's name still hasn't even come up as a temporary guest host. This seems incredibly baffling given the immense interest from fans along with Burton publicly declaring that he's eager to do it. Even if more time needs to pass before the next permanent host is named, Burton could at the very least show everyone how capable he is of doing the job if he can come in along with the other temporary guest hosts.
If you want to sign your name to the petition to make LeVar Burton the next guest host of Jeopardy!, head on over to Change.org.