Holy Christmas, what a roller coaster. To briefly recap for anyone who didn’t follow the story: When it became apparent that Alex Trebek’s cancer was going to take him from us, eyes turned to who would host Jeopardy next. One of the first fan favorites was LeVar Burton. From the start, LeVar seemed on board with the idea. A series of guest hosts were brought in, seemingly to try out for the position. LeVar was not brought in until very late and at a very inopportune time during the Summer Olympics. As it turns out, the whole thing was just a set up to slide the ill-fated Jeopardy producer Mike Richards into the hosting position. And the show got what it deserved for that move. Even though fans were still clamoring for LeVar to take his spot at the podium, he rejected the idea, basically saying the whole experience left a bad taste in his mouth. He also said that everything happens for a reason and that he would have missed other opportunities if he had gotten the Jeopardy gig. It turns LeVar is getting his very own game show based on the Trivial Pursuit board game. LeVar’s entertainment company will be co-producing it.
LeVar Burton is returning to the game show scene!
The 64-year-old actor’s entertainment company has inked a deal with Hasbro’s content studio Entertainment One to produce a game show based on the classic game Trivial Pursuit.
“Trivial Pursuit is one of the best-known brands in the gaming universe,” Burton said in a statement released by eOne Tuesday. “I am thrilled to have partnered with Hasbro and eOne to bring this beloved game to market as a premium show for television.”
Tara Long, President of Global Unscripted Television at eOne, said the company is looking forward to working with Burton as “an iconic member of American pop culture.”
“His love for intellectual curiosity paired with his ability to connect with audiences worldwide make him the perfect partner to bring Hasbro’s beloved trivia game to households in a new and exciting way,” Long said in the statement.
My father and I were unstoppable as a Trivial Pursuit team, in case LeVar is looking for contestants. There isn’t much to go on as far as what this will look like, how it will be played or even when it will be aired. But that’s not really the message here. The message is that LeVar came out on top. And honestly, this is so much better. As some of us have said a couple of times, whoever fills the Jeopardy slot will forever live in Alex’s shadow. That’s fine, but now LeVar doesn’t have to work his way out from under that. He gets to forge this territory all on his own *desperately trying to refrain from a Star Trek tagline pun here*. Trivial Pursuit is well known so there’s already cross-platform marketing. And Hasbro money to boot. If all of those fans who signed the Change.org petition to get him on Jeopardy show up for this, it’s an instant hit.
I’m sorry LeVar had to go through that BS with Jeopardy. It sounds like the host position was something he wanted. Both how it was handled and the eventual outcome hurt him. It would me too. For him to take that and turn it into his own trivia-based show, that he will design, host and produce is such a graceful win. I don’t watch many game shows, but I’ll give this one a try. I support most thing LeVar does. And besides, I have a Trivial Pursuit crown to protect.
Photo credit: Instagram and InStar Images
The best revenge is creating your own game show. And LeVar Burton did exactly that!
Yay! Can’t wait. Hope they don’t make it cheesy. The best thing about Jeopardy was that it was intellectual and restrained in a sea of colourful flashing lights of other game shows.
I never liked Jeopardy because it always seemed like it was up its own butt; im sad that Burton didn’t get a fair shot but I’m glad he’ll be doing something that ends up better.
Hurrah for LeVar
@ Bettyrose, ditto!!
Far better. Be with something from the ground up that can be just his and not a legacy from someone else. I still wish for the return of Reading Rainbow.
Wishing him success and happiness. Love the picture at sunset.
I do too! When they announced this on CBS yesterday morning, Gale King was over the moon happy for him! I am so happy for him as well! He’s such a wonderful man and seems to have a heart of gold!! I am so excited for his new program and I am eager to watch it, even though I don’t watch game shows. I wish him the very best in his new show of Trivial Pursuit!! I am going to check out this show too!!
@ Sunday, thanks for the info on his podcast!! I am going to check that out!! He is such a lovely and wonderful man!!!
LeVar Burton may be a fine human being, but he wasn’t a particularly fine Jeopardy host – although he showed signs of improving near the end of his run, he was stiff and awkward for the most part. I agree that the whole search for a host was poorly handled, and has likely tarnished the show, so perhaps he dodged a bullet. I love Trivial Pursuit, so I wish him the best with it.
It’s water under the bridge now, but all of his shows were recorded on the same day. It’s yet another way that they kneecapped his “audition” from the beginning; he didn’t get a chance to improve over 2 weeks like other hosts.
That’s how J! operates. They film four days a month, five shows a day. Other guest hosts – whether they filmed one day or two – did just fine. Burton laid an egg all on his own.
It was released that his episodes were tanked. There were no retakes for continuity, and his editing was made to look sloppy.
They then put him on during the Olympics when the show might not even air at all and therefore the ratings would tank.
Wait….what?! They’re retakes for Jeopardy?!
I’m so, so happy for LeVar. I used to be a huge Jeopardy fan but this whole Mike Richards saga and the fact that they completely ignored Alex Trebek’s own wishes has been a huge turn off. I’ll definitely give Trivial Pursuit a shot!
Also, I urge anyone and everyone who enjoys short fiction to check out his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads. It’s basically Reading Rainbow for adults, and it’s fantastic.
Just subscribed. Thanks for the recommendation!
I did too!! Thank you @ Sunday!!
Alex never anointed a successor. A few years ago he was pressed for his thoughts on a successor and he threw out some names. But those were never serious contenders.
Anyone who remembers when Johnny Carson left should know that the outgoing guy has no say about who takes his place. Which is why even near the end, Trebek never formally endorsed Ken Jennings, though in private Trebek made several gestures that people have interpreted as de facto blessings of succession. But again… Corporate execs will use a figurehead leaving to remake the show in their own images. There’s really no doubt that Richards had a deal with Sony going back to 2019 to take over J! from Alex at whatever the time was Alex departed or retired.
This is better. Love LeVar, love Trivial Pursuit, I will totally check this out!
I just love him. He seems like such a genuinely good person. He’s up there with Mr. Rogers, I feel.
“One of the first fan favorites was LeVar Burton”
That’s just patently false. He ginned up his Twitter followers not long after Trebek died to support Burton’s petition to be named FULL TIME HOST, period. His insane Twitter followers went with it and cried every foul in the book about why he didn’t get a guest slot.
Then producers caved and gave him a shot and Burton completely stunk up the set.
And no, it wasn’t Mike Richards sabotage. Contestants who were there during that day of filming reported on how things went and that filming was nearing midnight to correct all of Burton’s many mistakes. Normal filming day, start at seven a.m. and done by seven or eight.
J! is a gold standard for game show production and to suggest Burton’s crappy performance was sabotage is a slap in the face to Jimmy, Sarah and the rest of the crew who – by all reports from contestants – bust their butts to deliver a quality product and put out the best show they can.
Off topic, I really love Hegate’s light, engaging tone and Levar coming out on top is the gift I didn’t know I needed.