LeVar Burton is no longer interested in taking over as the host of Jeopardy! During an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Thursday, the actor and Reading Rainbow host explained why he’s stopped pursuing the job he campaigned for earlier this year.
“I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me. And [my fans] were all about it,” Burton said. “The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something… they say be careful of what you wish for, because what I found out is that it wasn’t the thing that I wanted after all. What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right? But then, when I didn’t get it, it was like ‘Well, okay, what’s next?’”
“The opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn’t have dreamt it up,” Burton continued. “If you had given me a pen and paper and said, ‘Well, so what do you want this to really look like?’ If it doesn’t include ‘Jeopardy,’ I wouldn’t have been this generous to myself.”
While Burton won’t be taking over on Jeopardy!, he teased a return to television hosting in the future. “We’re trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be.”
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After the death of longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek last year, the iconic game show introduced a series of guests hosts to anchor the production while a new permanent host was being decided on. A Change.org petition urging Jeopardy! to give Burton the job garnered over 287,000 signatures. The online movement became so popular that Burton was booked by the show as a guest host from July 26 to July 30.
The game show has entered a tumultuous production period in recent weeks. Former Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards was selected as the new permanent host in August before being abruptly fired from the show just nine days after taking the helm. Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings and actress Mayim Bialik will take over hosting duties for the remainder of the year while the search for a permanent replacement continues.
J. Kim Murphy is a freelance entertainment writer.