Following the passing of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to pancreatic cancer last November, the trivia show has rounded up a star-studded roster to fill in at the host’s lectern this season. From Katie Couric to Dr. Oz, the round-up has been stacked and now Levar Burton, the host of the children’s series Reading Rainbow and star of Star Trek: The Next Generation, joins the group.
On Wednesday, Jeopardy! announced its newest slate of guest hosts via Twitter. Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos and Fox sportscaster Joe Buck are also amongst the summer line-up alongside Burton.
In an enthusiastic response, Burton tweeted: “THANK YOU… to all y’all for your passionate support! I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!, and will do my utmost best to live up to your faith in me. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time.”
Although fans are geeked to see their favorite childhood literacy advocate take centerstage, many are rooting for Burton to become the permanent host following his set during the last two weeks of July.
This fierce campaign to bring Burton on long-term is nothing new to his die-hard fans. Months ago, a Change.org petition was launched in support of the push and as of late, it has garnered over 248,000 signatures.
According to a statement via ABC News from the show’s executive producer Mike Richards, the goal of cycling the hosts has been to allow the audience to experience a variety of guests “with different skill sets and backgrounds on our path to finding a permanent host.” Richards continued, “Our passionate fans are telling us what they like, and we are listening.”
Burton has hosted 21 seasons of the PBS series Reading Rainbow while also serving as an executive producer of the PBS series. His acting career is most notable for his role as Lt. Commander Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and as Kunta Kinte in the mini-series Roots. Throughout his career, he has earned 13 Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, and a Grammy Award. He also is the host of his own podcast, “LeVar Burton Reads,” which highlights the best short fiction.