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It’s been a few months but LeVar Burton is still upset that he was not named Jeopardy! host following Alex Trebek’s death in 2020.
The Roots star was among several possible names to permanently take on the coveted role, which included then-executive producer Mike Richards, beloved former contestant Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the show’s longest winning streak, and The Big Bang Theory alum Mayim Bialik.
Jennings and Bialik currently share hosting duties.
“Experiencing a very public defeat, humiliation, if you will, was sobering,” Burton said in an interview with Newsy’s In the Loop. “And what I learned from the experience, really, is that it reinforced my belief that everything happens for a reason, even if you cannot discern the reason in the moment. In the fullness of time, everything will be revealed.
Burton continued: “And like I said, it was, I think, in that first week of feeling really sort of not just disappointed, but wrecked. I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host.”
The actor and former Reading Rainbow host hints that he was never factored in as a serious contender for the job.
“I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it,” he explained. “As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition, after all, the fix was in.”
While Burton laments not hosting his favourite game show, a new opportunity did come out of it: a new game show based on the board game Trivial Pursuit, which he created and will act as host.
“I think it was a big lesson for me and just being willing to sit in the discomfort long enough to find out what was really supposed to happen for me around this game show thing,” he said.
“I’m a firm believer in betting on myself, and I would encourage anyone and everyone out there to believe similarly in themselves. I’m always going to bet on me.”
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