LeVar Burton Once Again States He Doesn't Want 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Job

LeVar Burton has reiterated he has no desire to become the next permanent host of Jeopardy!

The Reading Rainbow star stepped to the lectern in the last week of July, after publicly expressing his desire to replace the late Alex Trebek as the long-running quiz show's permanent host.

However, his dreams were scuppered in August, when it was announced that Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards had landed the coveted role, while Mayim Bialik would present the show's tournaments and specials—a move decried by Burton's army of supporters, who felt he had been snubbed.

By the end of the month, Richards was out as both host and executive producer, after The Ringer published details of offensive comments he had made while hosting a now-defunct podcast between 2013 and 2014.

Bialik and all-time Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings are now splitting hosting duties of the primetime show for the remainder of the calendar year, as producers come to a final decision on the new permanent host.

But Burton has insisted that, should still be in the running, he plans to reject the offer, as he's now moved on.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Burton was asked how he would react if he was called and offered the job, prompting him to respond: "I'd say, 'No. You've got to be kidding me! You're out of your mind. Goodbye!'"

"I want to make it clear, for the record, that I'm really happy with the way things worked out," he went on. "I was disappointed to not get the job, but I'm the sort of person, I believe that everything happens for a reason.

"And if I didn't get that job, that meant it wasn't supposed to be for me, and I accepted that almost instantly and willingly. I know that the opportunities that are in front of me right now wouldn't have come my way had I gotten the job, so I'm certain that this has worked out better for me than I could ever have imagined."

LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton attends the 8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center on November 03, 2019 in Mountain View, California. Burton has reiterated that he now doesn't want the "Jeopardy!" hosting job, after publicly expressing his desire to land the role. Rich Fury/Getty Images

During an appearance on The Daily Show in September, the Star Trek actor revealed that he had changed his mind about wanting the job after guest hosting.

Discussing the fan support he had received, Burton told host Trevor Noah: "You know, we did a Kickstarter several years ago. I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on Reading Rainbow, they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this Jeopardy! thing.

"I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it."

He continued: "The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, 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, OK, what's next? And, so, the opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn't have dreamt it up.

Late "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek poses on the set of the "Jeopardy!" Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational Tournament Show Taping on April 17, 2010 in Culver City, California. The beloved TV personality passed away in November after battling pancreatic cancer. Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

"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," Burton added.

"I never thought about hosting any other game show outside of Jeopardy!" he said. "But now, they went in a different direction with their show, which is their right, and now I'm thinking, well, it does kind of make sense, let me see what I can do. So we're trying to figure out what the right game show for LeVar Burton would be."

Burton spoke with Newsweek in April about his desire to follow in the footsteps of beloved TV personality Trebek, who passed away in November 2020 after battling pancreatic cancer.

"I think I could continue his legacy, I think I would do it proud," Burton said. "Yeah, I think I would bring myself and my skills and my life experience. I believe that I will be honoring Alex's legacy by standing on the podium."

Despite the fanfare surrounding Burton's Jeopardy! stint, he suffered the lowest ratings of all the guest hosts, with an audience share of 4.4 percent.

A number of factors out of his control affected the ratings—including having to compete with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the NBA draft and President Joe Biden's announcement of new COVID vaccination measures.

"Jeopardy!" hosts Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings
(L-R) Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings will be splitting "Jeopardy!" hosting duties for the remainder of 2021, as producers select a new permanent presenter. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images;/VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images