LeVar Burton says he no longer wants to be the new Jeopardy host
On Thursday night's episode of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, actor LeVar Burton stopped by to chat with host Trevor Noah about his recent stint as a guest host on Jeopardy and explained why he isn't interested in doing the job longterm.
During the interview, Burton explained that it was during a a kickstarter that he realized there was a generation of adults who had grown up watching him on Reading Rainbow who supported 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," Burton told Noah. "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."
Despite being a fan-favorite to succeed Alex Trebek as the game show's permanent host, Burton admits he doesn't want take over longterm.
"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," he said. "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."
This spring, Burton finally found himself behind the iconic Jeopardy host's lectern, taping a one-week stint as a guest host of the beloved quiz show. He told EW at the time that the speed at which the game moves surprised him.
"It's one thing to experience it at home, and then I've experienced it as a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy, and so I understood that very well," he said. "I was nonetheless unprepared for the pace of the game as experienced by the host. It really moves like a bat out of hell, and you cannot drop your focus for even a nanosecond. It's challenging, really challenging on every level."
Although he doesn't want to return to hosting Jeopardy, Burton is still open to other similar gigs. "Now I'm thinking, well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do," he told Noah. "So we're trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be."
For the remainder of the year, Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will take the reins on the show starting Monday with Bialik hosting episodes through Nov. 5. After Nov. 5, Jennings and Bialik will, according to a press release, "split hosting duties as their schedules allow."
Jeopardy returned for its 38th season on Sept. 13 with now-ousted host Mike Richards at the helm. Richards was originally tapped to replace Trebek in a permanent position. Following resurfaced incidents that included insensitive remarks made on his former podcast as well as two different discrimination lawsuits tied to his time working on The Price Is Right, however, Richards announced he was stepping down from the show.
Although Richards was removed from both his position as an executive producer and a host in August, he had pre-taped multiple Jeopardy episodes for the new season that began airing this week. A search for a permanent Jeopardy host is still ongoing.
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