After months of murmurs from fans, the actor, director, podcaster, and previous Celebrity Jeopardy! champion LeVar Burton is through with waiting for producers to come to him. He’s making his interests known to the world. He wants to be the next Jeopardy! host.
As the beloved host of the early literacy program Reading Rainbow and the embodiment of a kind, tenacious braniac in the form of Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge over seven Star Trek: The Next Generation seasons and four feature films, he seems very much the right choice. Add to this his role in the paradigm-shifting 1977 television film Roots and his continued work as a director and podcast host, it almost feels like he’s too perfect. Moreover, Burton really wants the gig, and went on a mini press tour to advertise for himself.
In interviews with Entertainment Weekly and The Daily Beast, he explained how even the concept of Celebrity Jeopardy!, in which he won $14,500 for the Somalia Foundation in 1995, was basically his idea. “I was completely and totally selfish and self serving in my desire,” he admitted to The Daily Beast, about pushing Trebek to create the specialized tournament. Three years after it debuted, he appeared on it and won.
With this spirit of willing something into existence, Burton has encouraged fans to stump for him, with a Change.org petition gaining serious steam. In the last few days, he’s gotten some of his celebrity chums to help make the case case for him, including television legend Dick Van Dyke, fellow Trek alums Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, and Kate Mulgrew, and also renown nerd Stephen Colbert (in the form of a joke).
Since Alex Trebek’s passing, the long-running quiz show has had a series of guest hosts. So far Ken Jennings, a legendary contestant-turned-celeb, has held the post, followed by Katie Couric, and Dr. Mehmet Oz. Upcoming names include Mayim Bialik (which will be awesome), Anderson Cooper, and Bill Whitaker.