LeVar Burton Has Responded to the News That Mike Richards is the Jeopardy! Frontrunner

LeVar Burton Has Responded to the News That Mike Richards is the Jeopardy! Frontrunner

LeVar Burton’s years-long quest to inherit the storied Jeopardy! podium may have come to an end, folks. Say it ain’t so!

A new report released last night suggests that Jeopardy! producers may be closing in a permanent host: Mike Richards, the current executive producer of Jeopardy!, who joined the revolving door of guests hosts earlier this year. The call, apparently, is coming from inside the house. This could mean that it’s curtains for Burton, who hosted the show to great fan enthusiasm in July, and who has campaigned since 2013 to join Jeopardy! permanently. But Burton, The People’s Candidate, has no hard feelings.

In a tweet, Burton appeared to respond to the scoop about Richards, saying, “I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I’ve won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure.”

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Burton’s tweet tracks with what he told Esquire ahead of his hosting gig. In an exclusive interview, Burton told us:

My goal was to get a shot. To be able to compete. I really feel like, had I not done everything I could to get in the door, I would have regretted it. Someone shared with me earlier, “Regret is the cancer of life.” I’ve learned enough to know what a bitter pill regret is. That’s why I was so vocal in saying that I wanted the job. I wanted the opportunity to compete. Having said that, I feel like I’m right for this job. If I don’t get it, I’ll be fine. My life will go on. I am enormously happy and content with who I am and what I do and how I do it. I don’t expect that to change whether I get the Jeopardy! job or not.

If you’re in the camp that Burton should be Jeopardy!’s permanent host, don’t give up hope just yet. It was a petition that got LeVar Burton on the Jeopardy! stage, and if incensed fans have anything to say about it, it’s a petition that might get Mike Richards off the Jeopardy! stage. The viral petition that sent Burton to Jeopardy! wasn’t the first time a petition changed his life; in 2014, a Kickstarter Burton launched to develop Reading Rainbow programming became the most backed Kickstarter of all time. Burton told Esquire of the experience, “What that Kickstarter said to me was the same thing the petition said: ‘We invested in you, LeVar, because you have made an investment in us.’ That feels really, really good.”

So Burton fans, it’s time to invest. If you want your man on that blue-purple stage, you know what to do.

Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.

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