Aaron Rodgers is currently at the helm of the Jeopardy! stage in the syndicated universe, even though he filmed those gigs back in February. The show, which lost longtime host Alex Trebek at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, is still looking for its official replacement while churning through guest hosts like the Green Bay Packers quarterback.
And while the lineup for guest hosts is pretty firmly set, one person many fans want to get a shot is stepping up his efforts to succeed Trebek on the podium. Actor LeVar Burton, of Reading Rainbow and Star Trek fame, has been the subject of a number of petitions to host the show in the wake of Trebek’s passing. And while he hasn’t snagged a guest host spot, which is essentially a tryout for the role, he’s making it known he’s very serious about his interest in the opportunity.
Burton has made a media blitz of sorts in recent days, saying on TV that “I’ve had my eye on that job” for a while and laying out why he thinks he’s the right man to replace Trebek.
— BNC (@BNCNews) April 10, 2021
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Burton joked that his “whole career” was built to make him the perfect candidate for the job. And like Rodgers, he’s won Celebrity Jeopardy! and knows his way around the stage.
“I’ve thought and thought and thought — I’ve asked friends and family to help me identify someone out there who’s more qualified for the job than I am,” the Roots and Star Trek actor tells EW. “I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is better suited for this job than me. And I will go to my grave believing that.”
“I think my whole career is an advertisement for being the host of Jeopardy,” he adds with a laugh.
There’s much more to it than that, of course: he’s a TV pro and feels the values of education he’s embraced over the years has given him a strong base of knowledge to take on the role. In regards to the petition that he’s encouraged in recent days, Burton said the enthusiasm from others has emboldened him to speak out about the job and the potential he has behind the podium.
“It feels like, ‘Wow, they really are behind me,’” Burton said. “They want this for me as much as I want it for me, I believe, because it makes so much sense to them too.”
“I’ve got to believe that they’re paying attention,” the actor says. “And I hope they weigh this campaign as a factor in my favor.”
The biggest negative for Burton’s chances right now is simply that he hasn’t been given a chance, but other than Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings there isn’t anyone in the running that’s seen nearly the groundswell of support that Burton has gotten from the greater Jeopardy! community online. And, well, he’s definitely more likely to get the gig than Dr. Oz after the backlash his guest hosting spot received earlier this year.