Inside ‘Jeopardy!’s Decision to Pass on LeVar Burton as Host

Jeopardy is going through a bit of an identity crisis at the moment amid the hosting drama. While Mike Richards, one of the show’s executive producers, was originally named as the full-time replacement for the late Alex Trebek, he subsequently stepped down from the position amid scandal. Since then, fans have been clamoring for Jeopardy to name LeVar Burton as Trebek’s successor. However, it doesn’t seem likely that he will be named as the new host. A new report from TMZ is shedding some light on the entire situation, including why Burton was possibly passed over by Jeopardy.

According to TMZ, Burton was never seriously considered for the full-time hosting gig. The publication reported that production sources have told them that Sony Executives did love Burton’s time behind the lectern. Although, he nor most of the other guest hosts were actually being considered to take on the role full-time. In fact, only Richards and Mayim Bialik were reportedly in talks with executives about the full-time hosting gig. Even though Burton reportedly wasn’t considered for the position, TMZ did report that he has been in talks with Sony about other projects outside of Jeopardy.

It should be noted that this is not an official report or statement from Jeopardy. So, this report should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly as a new, full-time Jeopardy host has not been officially named. Since a replacement for Richards hasn’t been named just yet, it’s still possible that Burton could be named as the new host. However, he is reportedly not the frontrunner for the position.

Shortly after it was announced that Richards had stepped down, former Hollywood Reporter editor Matt Belloni shared in his What I’m Hearing newsletter that Ken Jennings is the new frontrunner. Belloni cited two show insiders and reported that it is now Jennings’ “job to lose.” As for why the former Jeopardy champion is reportedly now being seriously considered for the role, there are a couple of reasons. Belloni reported that Jennings has not been overly critical of Sony amid this hosting turmoil. Additionally, he already has a connection to Jeopardy as he is a consulting producer. Belloni noted that it is unlikely that Sony will choose a host that does not already have ties to the show, making Jennings the likely replacement choice.

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