While phase one to get actor LeVar Burton as guest host for Jeopardy! is complete, the next phase fans (among them actor Ryan Reynolds) along with Burton himself hope his end-of-July stint turns to a more permanent job as the true successor to the late Alex Trebek. In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, the host of Reading Rainbow opened up about why it felt right to make the push. "There's something inside me that says this makes sense," Burton explained. "I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant."
Jeopardy! executive producer and a guest host himself Mike Edwards described the purpose of the guest hosts for the current season. "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," he said during the initial announcement. "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." Burton followed Jeopardy! since its original host Art Fleming, who served two stints from 1964-1975 and 1978-1979. "I'm a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories," he said. "There's a contest, there's comedy, there's drama. If you don't know you're [expletive] on "Jeopardy!" you're sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that."
The Star Trek: The Next Generation star has his fingers crossed. "It will hurt," he said if he gets passed up. "I'm not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It's all going to be OK. Because it always is." For more on Burton including his time on his signature work from Roots, TNG, and Reading Rainbow, the roles that got away, his book "Aftermath", Steve McQueen, Fred Rogers, and his presence on social media, you can check it out on NYT.
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