The “Humiliated” LeVar Burton Drops “Jeopardy!” Host Bomb: “The Fix Was In”

LeVar Burton is still a little salty about being passed over for Jeopardy! hosting gig.

The ‘Roots’ star, 65, sat down on Newsy’s ‘In the Loop’ to chew on losing the offer to host the game show on a permanent basis, noting that it’s ‘not only disappointing but ruining’ was.

Following the death of longtime presenter Alex Trebek from pancreatic cancer in 2020, a whole host of possible stars were thrown into the mix to take over, including Ken Jennings, Mike Richards and Mayim Bialik.

“To experience a very public defeat – a humiliation, if you will – was sobering. And what I really learned from that experience is that it strengthened my belief that everything happens for a reason, even if you can’t see why right now,” Burton told host Christian Bryant.

While Burton was keen to be the face of the trivia show, he was able to guest-host at least one episode in 2021.

“In the fullness of time all will be revealed. And like I said, I think it was in that first week that I felt not only disappointed but ruined,” the Reading Rainbow host continued. “I didn’t expect that I wouldn’t be their choice to host.”

TV Jeopardy LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton has opened up about being a loser on Jeopardy! hosting job.

However, Burton has rarely thrown in the towel to pursue other presenter opportunities. For now, he’s set to host Scripps Spelling Bee 2022, and instead of Daily Double revelations, he’ll instead be taking on dual duties as the creator and host of a new game show based on Hasbro’s famous Trivial Pursuit.

“The doors have been opened. windows were opened. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and I would never have experienced these things that I’m experiencing, like hosting the Scripps Spelling Bee, if I’d gotten that job,” Burton said.

“I think it was a big lesson for me and just being willing to sit in that discomfort long enough to figure out what was really supposed to happen for me in terms of this game show thing,” he added.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 02: LeVar Burton attends the Official Gift Lounge presented by Míage Skincare during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Topgolf Las Vegas on April 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)
“To experience a very public defeat — humiliation, if you will — was sobering,” Burton said.
Getty Images for The Recording Academy

He also hinted that the race to choose the new hosts isn’t necessarily a real race.

“The truth is, it was my favorite game show. It was really. I mean, I’ve been watching this show since I was in third grade and Art Fleming was the host,” he said. “And I honestly thought I was a good fit for it. As it turned out, it wasn’t a competition after all – the solution was there.”

He also revealed the lessons he learned from not getting the “Jeopardy!” Position.

“I think I still pull some of the takeaways from that experience,” he said. “First and foremost, I am a strong believer in betting on myself and I would encourage anyone and everyone out there to believe in themselves similarly.

“I will always bet on myself.”

The full Newsy interview with Burton will air Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, Bialik, 46, and Jennings, 47, have stepped down from hosting duties for last season. Before they took over, former producer and host Mike Richards was ousted in August 2021 after making inappropriate jokes about women on a podcast.

Viewers weren’t too keen on ‘Big Bang Theory’ star Bialik’s time on the show, preferring Jennings to stay a while longer.

Jennings announced on May 10 that he was taking a break from hosting and would take over Bialik. The “Humiliated” LeVar Burton Drops “Jeopardy!” Host Bomb: “The Fix Was In”

Emma Bowman

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