While LeVar Burton's highly-anticipated stint as Jeopardy! guest host is still a month away, the producers have already released a photo of the actor on the show's set in Los Angeles. After Alex Trebek's death in November 2020, Jeopardy! fans petitioned to have the Reading Rainbow host named the next permanent host. Instead, the Jeopardy! team decided to do a season of guest hosts to try things out. They still agreed to have Burton host for a week in July.
Burton's stint begins on Monday, July 23, and ends on Friday, July 30, meaning there are still several guest hosts before the Star Trek: The Next Generation star takes over. On Monday, Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie starts her second week. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta then takes over from June 28-July 9, followed by Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopolous on July 12-16, and GMA anchor Robin Roberts from July 19-23. After Burton, CNBC's David Faber hosts from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6. Fox Sports commentator Joe Buck finishes the season, hosting from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13.
Once Jeopardy! announced Burton got the gig, the actor thanked his fans for showing their support with the Change.org petition, which now has over 250,000 signatures. However, executive producer Mike Richards told USA Today in April that talks with Burton started almost right after Trebek died. "LeVar and I've been speaking for a very long time," Richards, who guest-hosted in February, said. "I think he was the first person to reach out to me after Alex passed away... so this is not a new conversation."
Richards pointed out that it was "not an easy process" to decide who could host Jeopardy!. "It's not a matter of picking up the phone and people clearing their calendars, and then just showing up. There's a lot that goes into these bookings," he explained. "It was much more about the conversations that we had than really him lobbying because really, no one else has lobbied. It's really been a kind of a very quiet path to cerebral conversations, and then us making decisions."
Some of the guest hosts will be considered for the permanent position, but one person has already taken themselves out of the running. Guthrie told USA Today she has no interest in the job because she doesn't plan on leaving Today. Considering Today is based in New York and Jeopardy! is filmed in Los Angeles, it could be a logistics nightmare. "I don't know how it would even be possible to do both," she said. "What was fun about this was it was a lark, it was a one-time opportunity, and I don't think there's any question of me ever doing it permanently. So for me, it was pure fun, no pressure."