LeVar Burton on Wanting 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Gig: 'There's Something Inside Me That Says This Makes Sense'

LeVar Burton talked to 'The New York Times Magazine' about wanting the 'Jeopardy!' hosting job, and about how he'll take it if he doesn't get it.

LeVar Burton

Image via Getty/CBS Photo Archive

LeVar Burton

As the search for the permanent host for Jeopardy! marches onward, LeVar Burton continues to be open about his desire to land that role. Well, more accurately he’s being asked about it and he’s just answering the questions but, yeah, he wants it. The latest instance of this subject being brought up came in an interview with The New York Times Magazine. Burton’s response followed the interviewer opening the sit-down by asking him, “Last fall, you tweeted that you feel as if you’ve been preparing your whole life for the Jeopardy! job. In what way? And also, why do you want the gig so badly?”

Cue his answer.

“It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense,” Burton said. “I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I have been watching Jeopardy! more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant.”

Note that Fleming was the host from 1964-75, and then again from 1978-79.

Later on Burton was asked how tough it would be for him if he didn’t get the job. 

“It will hurt. I’m not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine,” he said. “Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It’s all going to be OK. Because it always is.”

Since Alex Trebek’s death the game show has had a number of celebrities reading off the clues and making forced small-talk with the contestants. Those include *deep inhale*: Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Bill Whitaker, Savannah Guthrie, Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper, Aaron Rodgers, Dr. Oz, Mayim Bialik, George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, and Joe Buck, among others.

*Shrugs* A rotating cast kind of works, does it not? No? All right. 

Whatever stock you put in Change.org petitions, an appeal on that site asking for Burton to be the show’s new head honcho has gotten more than 255,000 signatures. He’ll have a chance to impress when his guest host stint begins July 26. 

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