After landing a guest host gig on a wave of public support that hopes to see him become Alex Trebek’s successor, LeVar Burton is wrapping up his Jeopardy! stint by bringing in an impressive haul for his charity of choice: Reading is Fundamental. According to a press release from Sony Pictures Television, the classic game show has now surpassed over $2.5 million in charitable donations after Burton’s guest host gig earned $204,800 for the literacy organization.
A lifelong children’s literacy advocate, Burton selected Reading Is Fundamental to receive this contribution. Reading Is Fundamental is committed to a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, providing quality content to make an impact and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. As the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit, Reading Is Fundamental maximizes every contribution to ensure all children have the ability to read and succeed.
After graciously thanking fans for starting a petition to make him the next Jeopardy! host, Burton made a noticeable shift in April when he started leaning into the fan campaign back in April. To the delight of supporters, the former Reading Rainbow host was really going for it, and fans couldn’t be more thrilled when Burton got his chance at the podium.
Although, it wasn’t an entirely smooth ride. In a candid interview with the Seattle Times, he admitted that his first taping wasn’t his best, and he was thankful for his wife being straight with him about it. “Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth. She said it wasn’t me,” Burton said.
However, the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor found his footing by not trying to be as “smooth as Alex” and just be himself. “So that became my point of focus,” Burton revealed. “And when it did, I started having fun.”