The man whose petition to make actor and literacy advocate LeVar Burton permanent host of "Jeopardy!" says he never expected the attention and reach the online request has attained, with more than 237,000 signatures so far, including those of stars Dick Van Dyke and Jonathan Frakes.
"Oh my god, I never dreamed it would get this kind of response," Denver musician Joshua Sanders, who created the Change.org petition on Nov. 9, told Vice magazine Wednesday. "But of course he's the best option. I literally can't think of anybody who would do a better job than him. For kids who grew up in the '80s and '90s, LeVar Burton probably did more to encourage them to learn how to read than their own parents did."
Guest hosts have been filling in for the late, beloved Alex Trebek, who died Nov. 8 and whose final prerecorded show aired in January. The petition to name Burton permanent host says the star "has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds. 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, 64, burst into public attention and earned an Emmy Award nomination as the teen star of the 1977 miniseries "Roots." He went on to play chief engineer Geordi La Forge on the 1987-94 syndicated "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and its spinoff films. Most pertinently, he hosted the acclaimed PBS series "Reading Rainbow" from 1983 to 2006, in which children's books were narrated, and continues independently to do so online. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation this February named Burton its inaugural Literary Champion.
While the star has not commented on the new article, he regularly retweets posts about the petition. Days after it went live, he had linked to it and tweeted, "Even if nothing comes from it, I can't tell [you] how much how I appreciate all y'alls love and support!"
He later added, "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."
On Thursday, Burton said on SiriusXM radio’s "The Karen Hunter Show": "I really think I'm the right person for the gig."
'BUZZY' NEWS. Former "Jeopardy!" Champion Buzzy Cohen is returning to the show to guest host its upcoming Tournament of Champions, set to air May 17-28. The fan-favorite, nicknamed "Mr. Personality" by Trebek, won $164,603 in nine games in 2016. He returned to win the 2017 Tournament of Champions, and in 2019 became a team captain for the All-Star Games.