While Jeopardy! producers have not named a successor for Alex Trebek, yet fans know who should fill the big shoes left behind by the beloved game show host. LeVar Burton, the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor, also beloved by generations as the host of Reading Rainbow, has become a favorite new host among fans. Trebek died on Sunday at 80, following a battle with prostate cancer.
Burton, 63, caught wind of the growing support for his candidacy as the next Jeopardy! star. He retweeted a New York Times article about names fans have considered, then shared a link to a Change.org petition with over 14,000 signatures. "Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how I appreciate all y’alls love and support," Burton wrote.
In 2018, Burton told fans at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas that he has "made it very clear" that when Trebek retired, he wanted to host Jeopardy!. "Sorry, brother! There is only one game show I’ve ever wanted to host... This Is Jeopardy!" Burton wrote in another tweet that year. "Sorry, everyone! It was called Reading Rainbow, not Spelling Rainbow."
I never even knew you wanted it! If you end up touring schools with children’s jeopardy and pausing to read stories when they choose the daily double... I just... I can’t... pic.twitter.com/T7HXAj5hqZ— Aliada Amante (@AliadaAmante) November 12, 2020
At the time Burton made his comments, Trebek had told TMZ's Harvey Levin in an episode of OBJECTified there was a "50/50" chance he would retire when his contract was up in 2020. In that same episode, Trebek suggested Sony could replace him with Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust or CNN legal analyst Laura Coates. Trebek also often joked about Betty White replacing him. However, Trebek did not retire and instead extended his contract through 2022. He continued filming new episodes up until 10 days before his death, and his final show will air on Christmas Day.prevnext
I honestly didn't even consider you as one of the people who'd be perfect for this job, but once somebody mentioned your name, I was like "oh my god he's the perfect person for it!"— Ed Oswald (@edoswald) November 12, 2020
On Monday, a source told The Wrap that representatives for Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos are "lobbying" for him to replace Trebek. Another source close to Stephanopoulos denied he was "actively" chasing the job though. CBS Television, which distributes Jeopardy, and Sony, which produces it, have not commented.prevnext
If anyone could come close to filling the shoes of Alex Trebek, it's you. Either way, thank you for always being amazing and being a hero to kids like me in the 80s and 90s.— Jacki Temple (@jackitemple) November 12, 2020
On Wednesday, Trebek's wife, Jean, shared her first statement since her husband's death. She shared a photo from their wedding day, with Trebek putting the wedding ring on her finger. "My family and I sincerely thank you all for your compassionate messages and generosity," she wrote. "Your expressions have truly touched our hearts. Thank you so very, very much."prevnext
Who better to take the place of Alex Trebek than the man that so many of us grew up with encouraging us to read. This just makes sense.— Katrina "Tree" Idigo (@krochetnkat) November 12, 2020
The Jeopardy! team also paid tribute to Trebek with an introduction from executive producer Mike Richards on Monday. "This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family and for his millions of fans. He loved this show and everything it stood for," Richards said, before noting that Trebek "will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness and for his love of his family."prevnext
I understand why Ken Jennings seems like a great choice to host Jeopardy...
And yet, pretty sure we all know LeVar Burton is the perfect choice.
But you don’t have to take my word for it... pic.twitter.com/F5J1s1ag6H— Mychal (@mychal3ts) November 10, 2020
Burton is best known for starring as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and played the character in the four Next Generation movies. In 1983, he was picked to host Reading Rainbow, a PBS series encouraging children to read. Burton also has an Emmy nomination for his role as Kunta Kinte in the first part of Roots.prevnext
Seeing the idea of Levar Burton hosting Jeopardy trending. That is a great idea. I love it and I am here for the first time he tells a contestant who didn’t know an answer to “take a look, it’s in a book.”— Jon Doble (@JonDoble) November 12, 2020
Even some of Burton's acting colleagues have put his name in the ring for Jeopardy!. "I know it’s way too soon for this to be decided, but when it is time [Burton] is the one my heart says should host... [Jeopardy] after the tragic loss of [Trebek]. That’s it. That’s the tweet," Yvette Nicole Brown wrote.prev