On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Television announced the new permanent hosts of Jeopardy!, but some fans only heard that it will not be LeVar Burton. Burton has been the top choice for many people for months now, and Jeopardy! producers seemed to be seriously considering the idea. Instead, The Daily Beast reported that Mike Richards will take over as host of the syndicated game show.
Richards has been an executive producer on Jeopardy! since 2020, and on The Price is Right before that. Meanwhile, actress Mayim Bialik will now serve as the host for Jeopardy! specials, events and spinoffs. This did little to assuage fans who hoped to see Burton take a permanent place behind the podium. Outspoken fans helped get Burton a spot as a celebrity guest host this season, and Burton took to Twitter to assure them that he still feels blessed by their support.
I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure. 🙏🏾
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 5, 2021
“I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won,” Burton tweeted. “The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure.”
Not all fans felt as magnanimous as Burton upon hearing Wednesday’s news. Here is a look at how fans are reacting to the Jeopardy! announcement.
LeVar Burton is sitting there, brilliant and uncomplicated and with four decades of a loyal fan base, and these fucking loony tunes roll the dice with Discount Patrick Bateman. https://t.co/6I8xV50WXs
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 6, 2021
Also: I still believe LeVar Burton was the best person for the job, and I will die on this hill.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 11, 2021
If nothing else, fans complained that Richards was an unremarkable, unexciting pick compared to Burton. They feared that this was exactly why he got the job.
— Joe Briggs, Esq. (@JoeBriggsEsq) August 6, 2021
Long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek was asked who should replace him in an interview before his passing, and he suggested that the show should take a more diverse approach to its next casting decision.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 11, 2021
One of my birthday wishes is for LeVar Burton to develop, executive produce, and host his own original game show. We’d all tune in! ✨
— Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (@Ebonyteach) August 11, 2021
Many people — including people with the Hollywood influence to make it happen — suggested that now would be a great time to create a rival trivia show with Burton as the host.
so levar burton isn’t hosting jeopardy pic.twitter.com/6RLBTYuKMU
— wolfman jackie (@jackieabraham) August 11, 2021
Clips and memes from Burton’s cameo on Community got a lot of play on Wednesday as fans processed the disappointing news. For those that don’t recall, Troy (Donald Glover) has an emotional breakdown in the episode just from the stress of meeting his childhood hero Burton in real life.
Us: Hire LeVar Burton.
Sony: How about a predatory White EP that’s only been on the show for less than a year?
Us: No, we want LeVar Burton.
Sony: What if we give you that same White guy we promised before, BUT we throw in a Zionist that you loved in sitcoms?
— Prince of all Saiyans 💛⚜️🦋♠️ (Ꮵ ᏣᎳᎩ) 🇵🇸 (@Tchalla_Fett) August 11, 2021
So the whole LeVar Burton thing was just a setup to make room for this guy?https://t.co/EaoyONYBrU
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) August 11, 2021
Many, many critics felt that they had been tricked by Sony’s assurances that all the guest hosts were being considered. They also felt like Richards’ position within the company was the main reason he was hired.
Unfortunately I won’t be watching Jeopardy anymore. For me personally, Mike Richards just wasn’t the right fit. Unfortunate that the fans weren’t allowed a say.
— Rebecca (@BeckyStewart13) August 5, 2021
Finally, some fans said that they would simply not be watching Jeopardy! going forward. Without Trebek’s familiar presence there, the casting process left a bad taste in their mouths and they did not want to tune in for Richards sa they might have with Burton.