As the beloved game show series Jeopardy! continues its quest to find a full-time host to replace the dearly departed Alex Trebek, one man has become the clear fan-favorite choice to take over the podium: LeVar Burton, the former host of Reading Rainbow and star of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton has been lobbying for the job online and making the case for himself over the past few weeks, and there has been strong support for him in the online Jeopardy! fan community. Now things have been taken to the next level, because Burton will indeed host the game show this summer – but only as a guest host (for now).
The people’s voices have been heard, because today Jeopardy! announced that Burton is among its final list of guest hosts to close out the 37th season of the classic trivia show.
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) April 21, 2021
As many have already pointed out, that exclamation point seems noteworthy since it comes after Burton’s name. Is that merely the show’s producers acknowledging the vocal might of all the Burton-heads out there? Or is it a sly hint that they’ve already made their final selection about a permanent host? Some folks are suggesting that there’s some 3D chess going on behind the scenes: the theory goes that the producers know very well that Burton is the One True Choice for the host role, and they’ve been purposefully holding back from contacting him in order to generate a fan outcry. That way, they can swoop in, give Burton the job, and make the fans feel as if they were an active part of the decision, while having kept Jeopardy! in the news for weeks as sites like this one report about who should be the next host.
It’s an intriguing theory, but I’m not sure I buy it. Jeopardy! is an institution, and I don’t think it’s the type of show that needs to actively court publicity like that. A scheme of that kind would also require an awful lot of planning and effort, and with a pandemic still going on, I’m just not sure the producers would have the time and interest to do it. It would also indicate that Burton was in on the scheme – a little while back, he stated that he had not yet heard from anyone who works at the show. But who knows? Maybe Jeopardy! is more savvy than I’m giving it credit for.
The LeVar Burton Jeopardy! episodes will air from July 26, 2021 through July 30, 2021.
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