Fan favorite LeVar Burton joins final round of ‘Jeopardy!’ guest hostsKelly Lawler | USA TODAYon April 21, 2021 at 7:32 pm

LeVar Burton attends the 2020 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center in 2019 in Mountain View, California.
LeVar Burton attends the 2020 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center in 2019 in Mountain View, California. | Getty Images

Other guest hosts will include “Good Morning America” anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, author and CNBC host David Faber, and sportscaster Joe Buck.

LeVar Burton fans will be out-of-this-world excited to tune into ”Jeopardy!” soon.

The former “Roots” and “Star Trek: Next Generation” star, who has vociferously campaigned for ”Jeopardy!” host, is among a new crop of guest hosts who will preside over the iconic game show through the rest of its 37th season. The other guest hosts will include “Good Morning America” anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts, author and CNBC host David Faber and sportscaster Joe Buck. Specific dates for the hosts have not yet been announced, but will begin showing up in June.

“Our goal has been to present a wide variety of guest hosts with different skill sets and backgrounds on our path to finding a permanent host,” executive producer and one-time guest host Mike Richards said in a statement. “Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening. All of the guest hosts have brought individualism, energy and an authentic love of our show to each of their episodes. We look forward to sharing the rest of the season with our viewers.”

After the death of beloved and longtime host Alex Trebek in 2020, “Jeopardy!” has been cycling through guest hosts while producers search for a permanent replacement. The hosts so far have included:”Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings; Richards; journalist Katie Couric; talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers; and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who is in the midst of a two-week run now. Future guest hosts who have already been announced include “Today” host Savannah Guthrie, neurosurgeon and CNN medical adviser Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker (who’s next up on May 3) and actress Mayim Bialik.

The inclusion of Burton, an actor and educator who hosted PBS’s “Reading Rainbow” for over 20 years, is significant because there was a very loud social media campaign supporting him as a successor to Trebek. ”This is something that I really think is a good idea,” Burton told USA TODAY last week while appearing on an episode of The Mothership podcast. ”I think it’s a good fit of what the show is, what the show requires and what I feel like I bring to the table.” Over 200,000 fans have signed a petition supporting his bid.

Burton told USA TODAY that winning ”Celebrity Jeopardy!” in 1995 is one of his proudest moments. Up until then, he didn’t have much interaction with Trebek, but recalled a time he ran into the beloved host backstage at a taping in Las Vegas.

“He was unbelievably smooth. You sense that on TV. In person it’s even more apparent just how comfortable he was. And relaxed. And very, very, very, very smooth. Just effortless. And I know how much work it takes to make it look that easy,” he said of Trebek.

The five newly announced hosts will be the final group to join the series for this season, which will conclude in August. The series recently tapped all-star player Buzzy Cohen, who won the 2017 champions tournament, to guest host the 10-day battle of 15 top winners, which will be broadcast May 17-28 (check local listings).

Contributing: Bill Keveney


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