LeVar Burton Says 'It Will Hurt' If He Doesn't Get 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Gig

LeVar Burton is set to guest-host Jeopardy! in late July

LeVar Burton really wants to be the next host of Jeopardy! after the late Alex Trebek.

Burton, 64, recently opened up to The New York Times about his upcoming guest-hosting stint on the long-running game show's 37th season and revealed how he'll feel if he's not offered the full-time gig.

"It will hurt. I'm not going to lie," Burton told the publication. "But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It's all going to be OK. Because it always is."

The former Reading Rainbow star said that taking over Jeopardy! hosting duties is something that "makes sense" to him.

LeVar Burton
Emily Berl for The Washington Post via Getty

"I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do," he continued. "I have been watching Jeopardy! more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant."

Burton added, "Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow. Won a Grammy. Got a shelf full of Emmys. I'm a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories. There's a contest, there's comedy, there's drama. If you don't know your [expletive] on Jeopardy!, you're sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that."

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Longtime host Trebek died in November 2020 at age 80 after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Nearly two years before his death, the TV personality had renewed his contract with Jeopardy! through 2022.

Following Trebeck's death, numerous stars, including Aaron Rodgers, Today's Savannah Guthrie, Katie Couric and Anderson Cooper, have stepped in to guest-host the show.

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek. Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Jeopardy! announced its final group of season 37 guest hosts in late April. Burton was confirmed alongside Good Morning America co-anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos, CNBC journalist David Faber and sportscaster Joe Buck.

As he reacted to the news on Twitter, Burton shared his excitement for the opportunity. "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 you [put] in me," he tweeted. "YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time."

Burton has previously vocalized his interest in hosting the show. Last November, he tweeted out a link in support of a Change.org campaign seeking to make him the next Jeopardy! host. The petition currently boasts more than 250,000 supporters, including Dick Van Dyke.

"It feels like, 'Wow, they really are behind me,'" Burton told Entertainment Weekly in April of fans' support. "They want this for me as much as I want it for me, I believe, because it makes so much sense to them too."

Burton is set to guest-host Jeopardy! in late July.

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