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LeVar Burton has left his quest to be the full-time host of Jeopardy! in the rearview mirror. And although he did not get the gig he and his fans wanted for him, he is grateful for the world of opportunities the situation has presented.
The beloved Star Trek and Reading Rainbow star dropped by The Daily Show on Thursday, where he told host Trevor Noah that he was deeply touched by the enormous bout of support he received while pursuing the Jeopardy! position following the death of Alex Trebek.
“You know, we did a [Reading Rainbow] Kickstarter several years ago. I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on Reading Rainbow, they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this Jeopardy! thing,” Burton explained. “I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. 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.”
Sadly, for Burton and his throng of supporters, he was not named the full-time host, but he was able to guest host. It was announced Thursday that Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will host Jeopardy! through the end of the year. Previously announced host and executive producer Mike Richards stepped down in August after a report of past offensive comments.
Through the host replacement mess, Burton admitted to Noah he discovered he was not that interested in the gig after all.
“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,” said Burton. “What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, but then when I didn’t get it, it was like, ‘Well, OK, 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.”
Not going into too much detail, Burton said he had something in the works he was sure his fans were going to enjoy, saying, “I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of Jeopardy! But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I’m thinking, ‘Well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do.’ So we’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be.”
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