Jeopardy fans have chosen their new dream host with a viral petition

Jeopardy fans have chosen their new dream host with a viral petition

11/18/2020

In the days after the tragic passing of longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek on Nov. 8, 2020 after a long battle against pancreatic cancer, one question remained on the minds of loyal fans: Who could possibly be able to fill the shoes of the beloved television personality? Considering Trebek’s decades-long stint as the face of one of the most iconic game shows to ever grace the TV screens of viewers, it seems that very few, if any, could feasibly contend with the legacy the 80-year-old left behind.

But the denizens of the internet have since gotten together to make their choice known, and in the true vein of the 21st century, they did so through an online petition to make their voices heard. So, who did the petitioners select as the ideal replacement for Trebek? And will the petition and others like it have any bearing on determining who will take over the role of the game show’s host? Read on after the jump to find out. 

'Jeopardy!' fans have demanded LeVar Burton be the next host

As media outlets like Entertainment Tonight reported in mid-November 2020, a campaign on Change.org started by a person named Joshua Saunders and addressed to Sony Pictures Entertainment — the company serves as the copyright holder for Jeopardy! — petitioned that beloved former Reading Rainbow host and Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton be named the game show’s next host. In his petition created Nov. 11, Saunders outlined the highlights of Burton’s storied career, appealing to Sony to hire the actor and television personality based on his built-in following and on his seemingly universal popularity.

“Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational Reading Rainbow, playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and filling the roll of Kunta Kinte in the ever important mini-series Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds,” the petition reads. “This petition is to show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we’d all love to see him as the next host of Jeopardy!”

As of the time of this writing, nearly 100,000 people have signed the petition, with an aim of collecting 150,000 signatures in total. But while netizens continue to turn out in droves to argue for Burton, what does Burton think of it himself? 

LeVar Burton was 'flattered' by the petition

After a Change.org petition signed by tens of thousands of people expressing their desire to have LeVar Burton be named as the new host of Jeopardy! in the wake of Alex Trebek’s passing, Burton tweeted his gratitude for being named, however unofficially, as a contender for the role. “Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how [sic] I appreciate all y’alls love and support!” wrote Burton to fans on Nov. 12, 2020, along with an accompanying link to the petition for anyone who wished to sign.

But while Burton was forthright with his gratitude toward his followers, he took the time to remind them that first and foremost, their thoughts should be with those who were directly affected by the loss of Trebek as a friend and family member. “Of course while I’m very flattered by the petition, my thoughts are definitely with Alex Trebeck’s [sic] family and his millions of fans and the devastating loss of this irreplaceable legend. #LongLiveAlex,” Burton stated in a subsequent tweet.

While the petition might ultimately have some clout when it comes to who will assume the vacancy Trebek left after his death, there’s a chance that someone else might get the job — and the fact that Trebek himself never named Burton as a possible successor might, in the end, serve as a possible detriment to scoring the role. 

Despite LeVar Burton's popularity, Alex Trebek never named him as a possible 'Jeopardy!' host

Though a popular Change.org petition might give the producers of the game show a reason to consider LeVar Burton as a possible future Jeopardy! host after the death of Alex Trebek, the beloved television personality named a few options for his replacement before losing his battle with pancreatic cancer in November 2020 — and unfortunately, the short list never included Burton.

As Entertainment Tonight noted in their own coverage of the Burton petition, Trebek himself proposed two possible contenders for the role in 2018 during an appearance on the TV show OBJECTified: Los Angeles Kings announcer Alex Faust and Laura Coates, a legal analyst for CNN. “I mentioned to my producer before that the fellow who does play-by-play for the Los Angeles Kings, they should consider him,” Trebek said at the time of Faust. He then proceeded to name Coates: “There is an attorney, Laura Coates, she’s African American and she appears on some of the cable news shows from time to time.”

As of the time of this writing, the producers of Jeopardy! have not announced a replacement for Trebek — and considering that the last episode featuring Trebek taped before his death is scheduled to air on Christmas Day of 2020, it looks like there’s a chance we won’t hear who it will be for the foreseeable future. 

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