LeVar Burton Argues Why He’s the Best Person To Host ‘Jeopardy!’

Ever since a fan led petition called for LeVar Burton to to become the full-time host on Jeopardy!  back in April, the groundswell has only grown.

The show has been without a permanent full time host since the death of Alex Trebek.

RELATED: Over 150,000 Fans Petition To Make LeVar Burton the Next Host of ‘Jeopardy!’

In a recent interview in the New York Times, Burton argues why he is the one to succeed Trebek on the highly rated game show staple. In “LeVar Burton’s Quest to Succeed Alex Trebek,” writer David Marchese says, “If the right person catches the right project at the right time, the culture will always hold that person close. Do it three times, as LeVar Burton has done, and our relationship becomes something even deeper. Through his performances as Kunta Kinte in the landmark 1977 television mini-series Roots, as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which aired in syndication from 1987 to 1994 and is the greatest of all Star Trek iterations (I’ll brook no arguments to the contrary) and as host of the beautifully ambling PBS children’s educational series Reading Rainbow during its run from 1983 to 2006, Burton established himself as an icon of grace and humanism, an enduring part of the fabric of American culture. Which might explain why, this past spring, there was an organic social media groundswell to get Burton, who is 64, the shot he wanted at replacing another beloved figure, the late Alex Trebek, as host of Jeopardy!

“I feel like in some respects that I helped raise these younger generations that grew up watching Reading Rainbow,” says Burton, who will guest-host Jeopardy! in late July. “That means something to them, and it means something to me. We’re invested in each other’s success.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by LeVar Burton (@levar.burton)

Last fall, you tweeted that you feel as if you’ve been preparing your whole life for the Jeopardy! job. In what way? And also, why do you want the gig so badly? It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I have been watching “Jeopardy!” more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming hosted the game show for a total of 12 years before Alex Trebek took the reins, which he held for 37 years. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant. Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow. Won a Grammy. [For Best Spoken Word Album in 2000 for The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.] Got a shelf full of Emmys. [Burton has won 12 Daytime Emmy Awards, all for his work on Reading Rainbow.]

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by LeVar Burton (@levar.burton)

I’m a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories. There’s a contest, there’s comedy, there’s drama. If you don’t know your [expletive] on Jeopardy! you’re sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that.

Read the full interview here.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by LeVar Burton (@levar.burton)