LeVar Burton may have been a fan favourite to become the new “Jeopardy!” host following Mike Richards’ exit, but he’s glad he didn’t get the job.
The star, who received praise from viewers after his recent guest-hosting stint on the show, told Trevor Noah on Thursday’s “The Daily Show”: “You know, we did a kickstarter several years ago. 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,” Yahoo! reported.
“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.”
It was revealed on Thursday that Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will stay put at the “Jeopardy!” podium through 2021.
Burton admitted, “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.
“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.”
Noah described it as “the shipwreck that leads you to the magical island,” to which Burton agreed, adding: “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.”
Fans wanted Burton to become the full-time “Jeopardy!” host so bad that they even started a change.org petition, which has nabbed almost 300,000 signatures.
Even Ryan Reynolds backed Burton on Twitter, posting last month:
Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015 Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him. It was awkward because I agreed with them but the studio didn’t see it. Ultimately the fans won and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 20, 2021
Richards was previously announced as the new full-time host before he stepped down from the position last month after offensive comments about women and minority groups said on a 2014 podcast emerged online.