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LeVar Burton was actually crushed because ‘Jeopardy’ gig was ‘fixed’ (video)

LeVar Burton was actually crushed because 'Jeopardy' gig was 'fixed' (video)
LeVar Burton (Photo credit: / Kathy Hutchins)

LeVar Burton now admits that losing out on the coveted “Jeopardy” hosting gig was crushing after repeating for many months that it didn’t really bother him that he wasn’t chosen.

Burton spoke to “Newsy” on the eve of securing a hosting gig for another TV institution that represents quintessential Americana: the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Despite being a favorite among the many celebrity “Jeopardy” devotees vying to be the permanent host, Burton simmered in “humiliation” that he was never seriously considered. 

“Experiencing a very public defeat, humiliation, if you will, was sobering. And what I learned from the experience, really, is that it reinforced my belief that everything happens for a reason, even if you cannot discern the reason in the moment,” said the icon who rocketed to international fame after being the marquee star of the record-breaking 1970s miniseries “Roots.” 

YouTube video

“In the fullness of time, everything will be revealed. And like I said, it was I think in that first week of feeling really sort of not just disappointed, but wrecked. I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host. And the doors have been opened. Windows have been opened. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I never would have experienced those things that I’m experiencing, like hosting the Scripps Spelling Bee, had I gotten that job. So I think it was a big lesson for me and just being willing to sit in the discomfort long enough to find out what was really supposed to happen for me around this game show thing.”

Assuming a posture of near renouncement of “Jeopardy,” the former iconic host of “Reading Rainbow” speaks about his love of the game show in the past tense after loving it for his entire life.

“The truth is it was my favorite game show. It really was,” Burton said. “I mean, I watched that show since I was in the third grade and Art Fleming was the host. And I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it. As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition, after all, the fix was in.”

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