The thing about the “LeVar Burton should host Jeopardy!” movement—which began not long after the death of former host Alex Trebek, and which picked up a burst of steam this week after Burton promoted a 200,000-signature-strong petition touting the idea—is that it’s one of those rare thoughts that is, once encountered, so obviously right that it brings a measure of comfort to the human mind. After all: Burton is a beloved TV personality with a warm, soothing voice, and a sense of humor sharper than a decade spent in children’s entertainment might lead you to expect. He’s been an advocate for education for large swathes of his career. Hell, he’s even a former Jeopardy! champion, having crushed his opponents in a celebrity game back in 1995. And you don’t have to take our word for it: Burton’s out here on the ground, giving a new interview to Entertainment Weekly this week ensuring that everyone knows he’s the person for the job.
“I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is better suited for this job than me,” Burton told EW yesterday, and correctly. “And I will go to my grave believing that.” Noting how heartened he’s been by the petition—“They want this for me as much as I want it for me, I believe, because it makes so much sense to them too”—the actor and podcast host goes on to lay out his bona fides: “Love of the franchise, check. Loves knowledge and curiosity, check. I spent 26 years talking directly to people through the camera lens, check. I bring an audience of Gen X-ers and millennials—checkmate!” And, like, there you have it folks: Checkmate. That’s the last thing that happens in a game of chess!
It’s telling that at no point in the conversation does Burton sound braggy or arrogant, or even like a man looking for a new gig: He’s just, y’know, right. Among other things, he points out how important the pursuit of education has been to his life: “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.”
So, far, producers for Jeopardy! have yet to respond to this rising and inevitable grassroots movement. (Or even offered Burton one of those guest host spots they’ve been doing—seriously, you’re giving Dr. Oz a chance and not Geordi La Forge? C’mon.)