After hundreds of followers petitioned and he publicly lobbied for the job himself, LeVar Burton lastly hosted Jeopardy! on Monday night time. The former Reading Rainbow host and Roots star started his stint behind the lectern at ABC’s long-running trivia present with a tribute to the late Alex Trebek. “As a longtime viewer of the show, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guest host Jeopardy!” Burton mentioned. “I’m proud to be here to honor Alex’s legacy. I’m going to do my best to ensure that these talented Jeopardy! contestants enjoy their moment here as well.”
Burton’s five-episode run at Jeopardy!, which concludes on July 30, serves as an unofficial audition for the 64-year-old. More than twenty years after winning an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy! in 1995, Burton has repeatedly expressed interest within the Jeopardy! gig. After Trebek announced his pancreatic most cancers prognosis, Burton voiced his internet hosting needs in 2020, tweeting, “Not gonna lie, I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to occupy the @Jeopardy host podium when Alex retires.” More than 250,000 individuals signed a Change.org petition supporting Burton’s marketing campaign to succeed Trebek.
Following the longtime host’s death final November, Jeopardy! started rotating visitor hosts, which have included NCS’s Anderson Cooper, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, The Big Bang Theory actor Mayim Bialik, and Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts. Burton was confirmed for a summer time slot in April. “It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense,” Burton instructed The New York Times final month. “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.”
Burton mirrored on his method to internet hosting in an interview with Good Morning America on Monday. “For me, my standard of excellence is so intense that my initial approach was to try and be as good as Alex was,” he remembered. “Of course, I realized right away that that was an impossibility. The man had 37 years to perfect his mastery.” Burton defined that after convening along with his spouse and make-up artist, Stephanie, he determined to alter course. “I just went out there and tried to bring as much LeVar to the moment as I possibly could.”
Following Burton’s time as Jeopardy! host, CNBC’s David Faber and Fox commentator Joe Buck will shut out season 37. All of the contestants’ winnings throughout Burton’s stint shall be matched and donated to the youngsters’s literacy nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental.
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