While fans were rooting for LeVar Burton as Jeopardy!'s permanent host, they were ultimately disappointed when he did not get the role. The Ringer interviewed the actor and activist about the process.
Burton, who will host the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week, recalled talking with then-EP (and eventual host before being dismissed) Mike Richards about his passion for the game show. He remembered:
He told me later that he didn’t believe me. He didn’t sense in that call my passion.
He added of Richards:
I find that so as well. He also told me that he was not interested in the job, that it was his job to help them find the right person for this job. He said that twice.
Burton called Richards (who insisted he was not interested in hosting himself) a second time. The Star Trek: The Next Generation star then managed to convince Richards of his passion and eventually received a guest slot at the podium.
He was also asked about viewers' contentions that he was never given a real chance to host Jeopardy!. He shared:
I understand that sentiment. I do hold some of those feelings. As it turns out, it was not a competition to find a new host, really. Because the fix was always in. It was only scandal that forced Sony Pictures Television to go in a different direction. In fact, they tried to keep him on. I mean, I don’t need to rehash the chain of events. It really wasn’t what they said it was. And so my conclusion is I got what I asked for: I got a tryout, I got a chance to guest host. And my assumption was that it was an equal playing field and they were really looking to find a permanent solution. And I guess, ultimately, they did. But the way they got there was very distasteful and turned me off. So I’m happy to have not gotten that job.