LeVar Burton Has Perfectly On-Brand Response To Jeopardy Fan Criticisms About His Hosting Stint

While it appears as if things are back to normal over at Jeopardy! — or at least “quiet,” if not “normal” — there are still conversational ripples in the aftermath of the elongated host-hunting snafu. Some of the most notable ripples involve fan-favorite candidate LeVar Burton, who was passed over by producers considering who could take over as a permanent replacement for Alex Trebek. Burton’s future as a game show host is now secure, thanks to his new gig, but he had some reflecting to do when it came to fans’ negative criticisms surrounding his week of guest-hosting appearances.

Understandably, LeVar Burton isn’t flipping tables and raising all kinds of hell over what some Jeopardy! viewers thought about his hosting abilities. He’s just not that kinda person, though he does seem to have kept at least one particular critique in mind. Referencing one of Tom Hanks’ oft-quoted characters, here’s how the Star Trek vet put it to Rolling Stone:

In the age of social media, you have access to the good, the bad, and the ugly of what people think about you, [like] seeing on my Twitter, ‘Oh, he was terrible!’ ‘He was the worst of all the guest hosts.’ ‘He shit the bed.’ Shit the bed? I don’t think I was that bad! You gotta have thick skin. As Forrest Gump would say, ‘That’s all I’m gonna say about that.'

I think it’s safe to say that “attempting to host a beloved game show in the midst of an executive producer’s problematic push to take things over himself” is itself like a box of chocolates, in that no one was fully aware of what they were going to get once Jeopardy! became bogged down in Mike Richards’ drama. The current scenario has Mayim Bialik and all-time GOAT Ken Jennings sharing duties going into 2022, which certainly wasn’t the most predictable decision the producers could have made. 

It does suck that LeVar Burton had to see some of the negative criticisms thrown his way, especially since he and other guest hosts’ episodes were largely recorded in a single day. There wasn’t exactly time for everyone to get completely settled in before their work was already done. Plus, Burton episodes in particular faced lower viewership totals due to competition from Olympics coverage and other factors. At least he takes such comments with a grain of salt and a heaping helping of maturity. 

To say that the Reading Rainbow icon shit the bed is definitely hyperbole, though. Especially when “the bed” in question was already messy AF to begin with. Maybe if Burton kept asking people to spin the wheel and guess letters, instead of picking categories, maybe that would have counted? I’m not convinced even that would have done it. For someone to completely shit the bed as a game show host in any capacity, they’d probably need to legitimately drop a deuce on the stage. Alcohol would also help.

LeVar Burton will probably have quite a number of Jeopardy! fans tuning into his newest gig whenever it makes it to the small screen — which likely includes champ Amy Schneider — as he’s set to host the newest iteration of a Trivial Pursuit game show. He’ll also serve as executive producer, which will presumably allow for more creative control behind the scenes. That project doesn’t have a network or streaming service just yet, but expect more announcements to come. 

Meanwhile, Jeopardy! airs weekdays in syndication, so check your local listings to see when and where to find it in your area.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.