LeVar Burton has just picked up his next big television role. Known for hosting Reading Rainbow and playing Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton was recently named as a guest host for this season of Jeopardy!. He's now landed another major role as he's been cast in Tom Swift, an upcoming spinoff of The CW's Nancy Drew series. The new show will air its backdoor pilot in this week's episode of Nancy Drew.
Previously, it was reported that Tian Richards would be playing the titular role in Tom Swift, which will be a modern incarnation of the original book series. Now, Deadline reports that Burton has also been cast as the voice of Barclay, Tom Swift's "steadfast AI companion and tough-love mentor." Barclay seems to be an updated take on the Bud Barclay character from the books, who was Tom's best friend and sidekick on all of his adventures.
The CW's version of Barclay is an AI personality created by the young genius Tom when he was eight years old, remaining by his side as his closest pal ever since. Making use of modern technology, Barclay communicates to Tom through his smartwatch, tablet, laptop, and even the screens of his car to "offer astute encouragement and lightning-fast analysis." The character is also described as "Tom's Hype Man, Tom's confidante, and Tom's friend - with a surprising depth of emotion and a journey of his own to take."
Co-created by Nancy Drew's Melinda Hsu Taylor and Noga Landau alongside Cameron Johnson, Tom Swift follows the "serialized adventures of the billionaire inventor who is thrust into a world of sci-fi conspiracy and unexplained phenomena after the shocking disappearance of his father. Tom takes to the road on a quest to unravel the truth, leaving behind the comforts of his usual moneyed lifestyle, all while fighting to stay one step ahead of an Illuminati-scale group hell-bent on stopping him. Tom's missions will require his genius and flair for innovation guided by love, romance, friendship and the mysteries of the universe yet-unsolved."
On Wednesday, May 12, The CW will air the new episode of Nancy Drew that serves as a backdoor pilot to Tom Swift. Directed by Ruben Garcia, the episode will see Tom (Richards) crash into one of Nancy Drew's (Kennedy McMann) investigations with the two arriving at very different hypotheses. The CW will also develop a traditional Tom Swift pilot script, as the episode is not a traditional backdoor pilot.
As for Burton, he can first be seen as one of the final guest hosts of this season of Jeopardy!. Fans had long been campaigning for Burton to succeed Alex Trebek as the new host of the classic game show, going so far as to create a popular petition to make it happen. A permanent host has yet to be named, but bringing him on as a guest host will increase his odds of staying on for good. Either way, he'll be keeping a presence on television with a lead role in Tom Swift.
It's not clear when Tom Swift might be making its way to The CW. The new series comes from Nancy Drew co-creators and executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage via Fake Empire and CBS Studios. This news comes to us from Deadline.