Producers have finally heeded the many, many requests to have the one and only LeVar Burton guest-host Jeopardy! And to think it only took months of fans pleading, an online petition, and words from the man himself to make it happen.
But happening it is, and the powers-that-be may have saved the best for last. The show sent out a tweet on April 21 confirming the good news, while also announcing the final round of guest-hosts as the series wraps its 37th season. In addition to Burton, that famed podium also welcomes Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Celebrity Jeopardy! champ David Faber and sportscaster Joe Buck in the coming weeks. In addition to essentially trying out for the permanent gig (which still hasn’t been filled following Alex Trebek’s passing late last year), each guest-host will receive a donation to the charity of their choice.
According to Variety, Burton (who was the only name on the tweet to be accompanied by an exclamation point), was indeed cast following the petition. “Our goal has been to present a wide variety of guest hosts with different skill sets and backgrounds on our path to finding a permanent host,” executive producer Mike Richards told the publication. “Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening. All of the guest hosts have brought individualism, energy and an authentic love of our show to each of their episodes. We look forward to sharing the rest of the season with our viewers.”
Ever since Trebek lost his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer last year fans have been wondering who could possibly replace him as host of the series. It doesn’t help that Trebek himself always chose to stay out of the process, and refused to name his own pick before he passed. However, fans have made it clear they think Burton is the man for the gig.
In addition to starring as the fan-favourite character Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation from 1987 to 1994 (he also played the character in several big-screen movies), Burton has appeared in numerous series over the years including Roots, Weird City, Perception and The Big Bang Theory. He currently hosts the podcast LeVar Burton Reads, and he hosted the popular children’s series Reading Rainbow from 1983-2015. His guest-hosting gig on Jeopardy! is scheduled to take place this summer, from July 26 to July 30.
“THANK YOU... to all y’all for your passionate support! I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!, and will do my utmost best to live up to your faith in me,” Burton tweeted out following the announcement. “YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time.”
Fans were immediately thrilled to hear the news too, of course. And as expected they shared their joy online.
Ever since Trebek’s pre-recorded run of Jeopardy! episodes wrapped in the New Year producers have used a rotating panel of guest-hosts to keep the show going. It all kicked off with GOAT champion Ken Jennings, but over the past few months the likes of Katie Couric, Dr. Mehmet Oz and producer Mike Richards have also stepped up to the podium. Most recently NFL star Aaron Rodgers took on the gig and the ratings jumped 14 per cent, while Anderson Cooper, who is currently doing the job, seems to be the internet’s other favourite choice so far.
In the coming weeks, previously announced guest hosts will also include Today’s Savannah Guthrie, CNN medical adviser Dr. Sanjay Gupta, 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker and former Big Bang Theory star/neuroscientist Mayim Bialik.
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