LeVar Burton Speaks on ‘Jeopardy!’ Drama

LeVar Burton at Tribeca Film Festival
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

Star Trek: The Next Generation alum LeVar Burton has addressed some of the controversy surrounding Jeopardy!, which he guest-hosted last year while the long-running game show was searching for a new permanent host.

Speaking at a Q&A panel at Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon, this past weekend, Burton answered fan questions about his experience on the show and his thoughts on Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings being named the full-time co-hosts. “Jeopardy! hired the hosts that they wanted, so it’s all good,” said Burton (via WeGotThisCovered.com).

Burton was mostly complimentary about his time on the show, noting that it “fulfilled a lifelong dream.” However, he also touched on his criticisms.

“I’ll always bet on myself, and given the opportunity to do it all over again, I would,” the Roots star stated. “Well, first, I would not believe the executive producer when he told me twice that he was not interested in the job; his job was to find someone to do the job. That’s the guy who gave himself the job.”

While Burton didn’t directly say who he was talking about, the description matches Mike Richards, the former Jeopardy! executive producer who was named the new permanent host in August 2021 following months of guest hosts. Richards stepped down from the position just weeks later when insensitive comments he made on a 2013 podcast came to light.

“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.

Now, the former Reading Rainbow host is looking ahead to his next project, the upcoming TV game show, Trivial Pursuit. “I invite you to stay tuned because, in 2023, I’ll be coming out with a game show that I’ve partnered with Hasbro on with a little I.P. called Trivial Pursuit… We’ve developed what I think is a really awesome game, and I can’t wait to share it with y’all.”

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