There is a lot of division happening in this country, but the one thing that everybody seems to agree upon is that LeVar Burton needs to be the official host of Jeopardy.
After producers of the long-running game show featured Aaron Rodgers, Mayim Bialik, and Katie Couric in a grab-bag lineup of Jeopardy guest hosts, the former Reading Rainbow host tweeted a Change.org petition, campaigning for his chance to grace the lectern as full-time MC of the popular trivia show. As of writing this piece, the petition has 195,838 signatures out of a 200,000 goal.
It’s safe to say by the time you finish reading this that that goal will be decimated.
Alex Trebek is of course irreplaceable. His effortless cool, charismatic droll confidence, earnest and timeless appeal made him and Jeopardy inseparable. But bringing on Burton just feels right in every conceivable way. As part of the “Book It” Club generation, the name LeVar Burton conjures up happy emotions tied to the joy of reading, being curious about the world, and loving personal pan pizzas. If anything his arrival as the new star of Jeopardy would feel just as timeless and timely. Because who do you know can create history every step of the way in their career and remain a pop culture/nerd icon still respected and beloved by the streets?!
LeVar Burton, that’s who.
A worthy successor if there ever was one, Burton is a reflection of what a Trump-free America wants in their living rooms: smart, inviting, and eager to shape the minds of the next generations of trivia-loving nerds. “Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational ‘Reading Rainbow,’ playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on ‘Star Trek: the Next Generation,’ and filling the role of Kunta Kinte in the ever important mini-series ‘Roots,’ LeVar Burton has much love from the public, and we’d all love to see him as the next host of ‘Jeopardy,’” the petition reads.
The production team of Mike Richards and Harry Friedman already caught a major L after posting the lowest ratings of any guest host ever when Mehmet Oz (a.k.a. “Dr. Oz”) attempted to fill the late Alex Trebek’s shoes. I mean, no shots but, they had Aaron Rodgers on before even giving Burton a shot—what in the farkled hell is going on? The powers that be should definitely be listening after that deafening cricket sound hit the timeline. LeVar Lovers are standing up en masse to let them know what America wants. “Why is @LevarBurton still not the @Jeopardy host?” tweeted Nyasha Junior, Ph.D. “LeVar Burton for everything,” gushed another fan of the Grammy winner.
Becoming the host of Jeopardy would certainly be another highlight in a career full of accomplishments. But with America cosigning such a move, it is a win-win situation if there ever was one. Who knows what is currently happening in the Sony boardroom Zoom chat, but they would do well to see the tweets on the timelines and make this happen ASAP. The ratings would skyrocket and you can only imagine the high-level nerd out that would come from guest who grew up as hardcore Trekkies or Weird City fans. With viral moments coming later in the show’s illustrious history, having Burton on immensely increases the chances of Jeopardy finally having its own TikTok channel to appeal to a younger audience. And as prolonged social distancing has left many of us feeling isolated, seeing Burton gives us reassurance as a trusted face who can become essential to how Americans cope, connect, and endure in the midst of COVID-19 and structural racism.
With more diverse and inclusionary content options than ever before—I’m talking about you, Allblk—American audiences are open to what makes them feel like home at home. He helped teach America that reading was paramount, now let him test us on the knowledge we’ve learned. LeVar Burton is an American treasure, so placing his name on the Game Show Host Hall of Fame should seem like a layup for any network with a choice to make. Do America a solid—invest in LeVar Burton. As summer heats up and people look to invest their time and money on good content, this is an A-plus move.
Kevin L. Clark is an editor and screenwriter who covers the intersection of music, pop culture and social justice. Follow him @KevitoClark.