As delicate a subject as it may be, Jeopardy! needs a new host in the wake of Alex Trebek’s death. And at least one person oddsmakers believe has a chance to follow the late Trebek’s lead at least seems interested in the job.
Levar Burton, a TV legend in his own right after hosting Reading Rainbow and appearing on Star Trek, has become the subject of a fan petition to make him the new host of the show following Trebek’s death as a result of pancreatic cancer on Sunday. The 80-year-old host was likely nearing the end of his career before his Stage IV cancer diagnosis in 2019, so Jeopardy! would likely have had some replacements in mind. But a significant amount of fans want Burton hosting, and as we’ve seen with the Reading Rainbow revival, there’s a groundswell of folks online that really likes him.
A Change.org petition about his candidacy for replacing Trebek popped up online this week, and thousands of people quickly signed on.
Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational Reading Rainbow, playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and filling the roll of Kunta Kinte in the ever important mini-series Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds. This petition is to show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we’d all love to see him as the next host of Jeopardy!
Burton himself also shared the petition, saying he’s “flattered” people think he should fill Trebek’s place on the legendary Jeopardy! stage.
Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how I appreciate all y’alls love and support! 🙏🏾♥️
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) November 12, 2020
“Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how I appreciate all y’alls love and support,” Burton wrote on Twitter. We know Jeopardy! has new episodes with Trebek hosting scheduled to air until Christmas Day, and the show’s future past that remains uncertain with Trebek now gone and an ever-intensifying pandemic threatening to shut production down even if it has a host. But we know a lot of people are hoping Burton gets the call, and he certainly doesn’t sound like he’d say no if if that call came.