‘Humiliated’ LeVar Burton drops ‘Jeopardy!’ host bombshell: ‘The fix was in’

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

The “Roots” star, 65, sat down “In the Loop” on Newsy to chew over losing the bid to permanently host the game show, noting he was “not just disappointed, but wrecked”

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

“Experiencing a very public defeat — humiliation, if you will — was sobering. 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,” Burton explained to host Christian Bryant.

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

“In the fullness of time, everything will be revealed. And like I said, it was I think in that first week of feeling really sort of not just disappointed, but wrecked,” the “Reading Rainbow” host continued. “I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host.”

LeVar Burton has opened up about losing out on the “Jeopardy!” hosting job.

However, Burton has hardly thrown in the towel on locking in other emceeing opportunities. Right now, he’s set to host the 2022 Scripps Spelling Bee and, in lieu of Daily Double reveals, he will instead pull double duty as creator and host of a new game show based on Hasbro’s famed “Trivial Pursuit.”

“The doors have been opened. Windows have been opened. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I never would have experienced those things that I’m experiencing, like hosting the Scripps Spelling Bee, had I gotten that job,’ Burton stated.

“So 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 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)
“Experiencing a very public defeat — humiliation, if you will — was sobering,” Burton explained.
Getty Images for The Recording Academy

He also suggested that the race to determine the new hosts wasn’t necessarily a real one.

“The truth is it was my favorite game show. It really was. I mean, I watched that show since I was in the third grade and Art Fleming was the host,” he said. “And I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it. As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition, after all — the fix was in.”

He additionally revealed the lessons he learned from not getting the “Jeopardy!” position.

“I believe I’m still mining some of the takeaways from that experience,” he said. “First and foremost, 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,” he added.

The full Newsy interview with Burton will air at 9 pm ET on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bialik, 46, and Jennings, 47, have been switching off hosting duties over this latest season of “Jeopardy!” The two were tapped to replace former host and producer Mike Richards after he was ousted in August 2021 for making inappropriate jokes about women on a podcast.

Viewers have not been too keen on the “Big Bang Theory” star Bialik’s time on the show, preferring Jennings to stay on for a little while longer.

Jennings revealed on May 10 that he was embarking on a hiatus from hosting and Bialik would be taking over.


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