Fans of Levar Burton can rejoice: the “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star is joining the roster of interim hosts for “Jeopardy!”. The show made the announcement Wednesday, after a long campaign to have the former “Reading Rainbow” host step into the shoes of Alex Trebek, who died last year and whose iconic hosting role has since been filled by a rotating group of celebrities and TV personalities.
Burton, a lifelong children’s literacy advocate who hosted the PBS show “Reading Rainbow,” expressed his delight over the news on Twitter. Joining him on the list of temporary hosts are “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” anchor George Stephanopoulos, author and former “Jeopardy! Celebrity” champion David Faber and award-winning sportscaster Joe Buck.
“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. Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening,” executive producer Mike Richards — who also served as a guest host — said in a press release shared by the game show.
In November 2020, a petition was started on Change.org to get Burton hired as Trebek’s replacement. It was endorsed by Burton himself at the beginning of April, and now has nearly 250,000 signatures. Burton thanked the person who started the petition on Twitter following the game show’s announcement.
According to the release, Burton and this new crop of hosts will take the lectern for one-week stints starting some time in June. Burton will host from July 26 to July 30.
So far this season the show has been hosted by Ken Jennings — who was the first guest host of the new season — Richards, Katie Couric, Dr. Oz and Aaron Rodgers. Anderson Cooper is currently hosting, and will be followed by Bill Whitaker, “Jeopardy!” All-Star Buzzy Cohen, actress Mayim Bialik, Savannah Guthrie and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.