Ryan Reynolds Gets Behind LeVar Burton as ‘Jeopardy!’ Host
Following the death of beloved game show host Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! has endured continuous controversy. With Mike Richards now stepping away, it seems the job is up for grabs again. And Ryan Reynolds is casting his vote.
Fans were livid after LeVar Burton was passed over as host
It’s no secret that fans were unhappy after former Reading Rainbow host and Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton was passed over as host of Jeopardy!
Executive producer Mike Richards was briefly installed as the late, legendary Alex Trebek’s successor but stepped down after only one week.
The Ringer published accounts of Richards making highly offensive comments about Jews, women, and little people. Thus, between several highly qualified options being thrown out (including Burton and Katie Couric) and Richards’ past indiscretions, his appointment to the position was controversial for every minute of its one week. Sony said in a statement that they have resumed their search for a permanent host.
Mayim Bialik remains host for the series’ primetime specials, and there is talk of a spinoff for her. But the host position is once again open and Jeopardy! producers have a chance to get it right.
It’s worth noting that Burton was a shoo-in for years, having been a particularly popular celebrity guest host following Alex Trebek’s death.
Ryan Reynolds publicly cast a vote for LeVar Burton on social media
On August 20, Free Guy star Ryan Reynolds took to Twitter to weigh it. He compared LeVar Burton’s situation to his own underdog situation with Deadpool, calling it “awkward.”
“Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015 Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him,” wrote Reynolds. “It was awkward because I agreed with them but the studio didn’t see it. Ultimately the fans won and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful.”
Reynolds finished off with an “I’m looking at you” reference to Burton.
“Hi @levarburton,” he wrote.
Reynolds is a powerful ally to have in one’s corner at the moment. His superhero/video game popcorn flick Free Guy is still number 1 at the box office.
LeVar Burton said he was preparing to take the position
For his part, Burton has made no secret of his desire to take over the hosting job full-time. Back in 2020, he not-so-subtly tweeted, “not gonna lie, I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life to occupy the @Jeopardy host podium when Alex retires.”
In April of 2021, he told Newsweek that he felt his life experience and skills could do Trebek’s legacy justice.
“I think I could continue his legacy, I think I would do it proud,” he told the publication. “Yeah, I think I would bring myself and my skills and my life experience. I believe that I will be honoring Alex’s legacy by standing on the podium.”
In contrast, according to The Ringer, Richards told his co-host in a 2013 episode of his The Randumb Show podcast that he was ‘horrible’ at trivia.
“See, what I am is horrible at all trivia,” Richards admitted. “It doesn’t even matter if it’s a specific area I should know. I don’t have that kind of mind.”
That alone should have precluded him from any consideration as Jeopardy! host. But LeVar Burton does have ‘that kind of mind.’ Burton knows it; and Ryan Reynolds knows it.
And if the movie heavyweight has his say, Burton will be the next permanent host of the beloved game show.