LeVar Burton Says Hosting 'Jeopardy!' Feels Like a 'Natural Progression' in His Career (Exclusive)

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Levar Burton
Emily Berl for The Washington Post via Getty Images

LeVar Burton is gearing up to take over as the next guest host of Jeopardy!, in a move that he says encompasses his decades-long career. In a new interview on the Tamron Hall Show set to air on Monday, July 26, Burton tells the talk show host that the hosting gig feels like a "natural progression" to him.

"I think that having the job of hosting Jeopardy!, for me, it just feels like a natural progression," he explains to Tamron Hall. "It encompasses almost everything that I've been about for the last 45 years of my career. It just seems like a good fit to me."

Which is why the Emmy-nominated actor has been so public in his bid to host the beloved trivia show. 

"That's why I was so public about it," he shares. "It could have backfired, but I felt like if I didn't do everything I could to advocate for the job, I would never forgive myself. So, I took a risk, and was very, very public about wanting the job."

And the internet advocated for Burton too, with over 250,000 fans having signed a Change.org petition calling for the Reading Rainbow host to step in following the heartbreaking death of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek

"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 role of Kunta Kinte in the ever-important miniseries Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds," the Change.org 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!

Burton reacted to the petition on Twitter, writing, "Even if nothing comes from it, I can’t tell how much how I appreciate all y’alls love and support! 🙏🏾♥️." 

Burton is one of six hosts in Jeopardy!'s final round of guest hosts to close out the 37th season of the game show. 

The show's Instagram account announced their final lineup in April, which along with Burton, included TV personalities Robin RobertsGeorge Stephanopoulos, David Faber and Joe Buck.

Burton took to Twitter again once the news was confirmed, where he shared his excitement for landing the gig and thanked the fans for making it happen.

"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 in me. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time," he wrote next to the announcement.

The stars will all be hosting in an effort to raise funds for their charities of choice. When the stars helm an episode, the cumulative winnings of all the contestants who compete that week will be donated to the guest hosts' selected charitable organizations.

You can watch Burton on Jeopardy! from July 26-30.

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