LeVar Burton won't be hosting Jeopardy! anytime soon, but he hasn't given up on his dream of taking on another game show. After the passing of Alex Trebek in 2020, Burton's name quickly emerged as a popular candidate to succeed Trebek as the next host of the show. He was ultimately given a limited run by guest-hosting five episodes, but this didn't result in Burton getting the job.
On Thursday evening, LeVar Burton appeared on The Daily Show where he opened up to Trevor Noah about his short-lived Jeopardy! run. He explained how he learned through a Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign from a few years back that the young fans who grew up watching him are on board to support him with the things he wants to do today. As Burton explains, he felt that same support through his campaign to host Jeopardy!.
"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. So, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it. The crazy thing is, is that when you set your sights on something... They say be careful what you wish for because what I found out is that it wasn't the thing that I wanted after all. What I wanted was to compete. I mean I wanted the job, but then when I didn't get it, it was, like, well, okay, what's next?"
It was recently announced that Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will host Jeopardy! through 2021. Many of LeVar Burton's fans were upset that he was seemingly snubbed once again by the show, but given his recent comments, it would appear that he's already moved on. All's well that ends well, because as Burton tells Trevor Noah, the attention has still brought some other interesting offers his way.
"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, 'So, what do you want this to really look like, if it doesn't include Jeopardy!?' I wouldn't have been able to."
It seems that Jeopardy! is in the rear-view mirror for Burton, but Noah says he would still love to see him host another game show. While he saw Jeopardy! as a dream job, he admits that he's never really thought about hosting a game show otherwise. Even so, the experience guest-hosting Jeopardy! now has him open to hosting another game show as long as it feels like it's the right fit.
"The thing is, 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 [to host another game show]. So, let's see what I can do. We're trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be."
We will likely see LeVar Burton back on the small screen soon enough, even if it remains to be seen what that next job for him might be. It sounds like another game show gig is not out of the cards. In the meantime, you can catch more of Burton on his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. There is also an upcoming documentary chronicling Reading Rainbow.