It seems like lots of people want to see LeVar Burton become the new host of Jeopardy. There's been a petition going around for months that Dick Van Dyke and Burton himself shared online. Stephen Colbert made a compelling argument for Burton becoming the new host. Now, in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Star Trek: The Next Generation star lays out his case for why he's the best candidate for the position. As Burton says, he feels his entire entertainment career has been building towards this moment, and there's hardly anyone out there better suited to take over where Alex Trebek left off.
"I've thought and thought and thought — I've asked friends and family to help me identify someone out there who's more qualified for the job than I am," Burton says. "I don't believe there is anyone out there who is better suited for this job than me. And I will go to my grave believing that… I think my whole career is an advertisement for being the host of Jeopardy."
Burton had his breakout role in the original Roots miniseries. He then went on to play Geordi LaForge in Star Trek: The Next Generation for seven years. He hosted Reading Rainbow, a show designed to inspire a love of reading in children, for more than 20 years.
"The values that my family has established over time has been if there is a leveler of the playing field in America, it's education — aside from, you know, just being born white," he says. "But if you are ever going to fulfill your full potential, then learning needs to be your friend."
Regarding Jeopardy's producers, Burton says, "I've got to believe that they're paying attention. And I hope they weigh this campaign as a factor in my favor."
On an episode of CBS Sunday Morning in February, Burton spoke about the power of television. "Simply the most powerful medium in the history of civilization for communicating thoughts, ideas, and stories." He went on to talk about how Fred Rogers, his mentor, convinced him to use television for good in shows like Reading Rainbow. He also touched on how, as a science fiction fan, he was happy to join Star Trek: The Next Generation after being profoundly encouraged by Star Trek: The Original Series. "Gene Roddenberry's vision was one that included me and people who looked like me," Burton said. "It meant that when the future comes, there's a place for you."