After finally making his way to the Jeopardy! podium thanks to a fan campaign (which included a few notable celebrities), LeVar Burton saw his chance of becoming Alex Trebek’s successor disappear as quickly as it arrived. The beloved Reading Rainbow host was not chosen for the top spot as Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards named himself as the new host, which immediately mired the classic game show in scandal. (Richards would step down after less than a week of filming.)
While Burton has hinted at the “humiliating” process before by ominously saying that “the fix was in,” he’s now speaking more candidly about the whole ordeal. When asked what he’d do differently, Burton had harsh words for Richards who reportedly told Burton twice that he wasn’t interested in the hosting job. Via TV Insider:
“So if I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t trust him,” Burton continued. “But I would insist on knowing that this was a real audition for the job because that’s what I thought I was asking for.”
Burton went on to say that it felt like he was “pulled into a publicity stunt” but added, “I went in willingly. I own my actions 100%. I just wish they had been more forthcoming at the beginning.” He also said he “loved every moment” of hosting the show itself.
Despite the Jeopardy! fiasco, Burton would ultimately land a game show hosting gig. He’s currently developing a TV version of Trivial Pursuit that will allow the Star Trek: The Next Generation star to work his magic at a podium that’s completely his own.
(Via TV Insider)