LeVar Burton will host Jeopardy the week the July 26. (AP)
LeVar Burton takes the iconic Jeopardy! stage today, realizing his lifelong dream and one major step towards victory for his fans’ long-running viral Change.org petition push for him to become the permanent host of Jeopardy! Burton’s episodes will air July 26-30th. As part of his appearance, Jeopardy! will donate to his chosen charity, Reading Is Fundamental. Joshua Sanders, the petition starter, hails from Denver, CO and is available for interviews.
Denver superfan Joshua Sanders started the petition last fall, and it has over 257,000 signers and counting. In an update sent to signers last night, Joshua called for his fellow fans to watch this week and show support for Burton: “…While clearly LeVar Burton is the correct pick for next host of Jeopardy, I never dreamed that the petition would get this sort of response! As I’m sure you all know, the execs listened and gave LeVar his chance at the podium. Now it’s time to show our support one more time and tune in to NBC (or wherever Jeopardy airs in your market!) this week, July 26-30th, and show those execs who the people want for next permanent host of Jeopardy!”
Burton, who won Celebrity Jeopardy!, had tweeted about his dream of hosting Jeopardy since the early 2010s, but it took Sanders’ petition and viral momentum around the campaign to gain producers’ attention this year.
For Burton and his fans tweeting under #BlackJeopardy, it’s not just about wanting LeVar himself to host – it’s also about representation. In an Esquire piece, Burton said: “Jeopardy! occupies a singular place in American culture. To have a person of color or a marginalized person standing behind that podium is good for America. It means something. It’s a milestone marker on this journey toward wholeness that the great American experiment is supposed to be about.”
They also asked: “How does that feel, to be the subject of this huge petition, and to have so many people wanting you on this stage permanently?” Burton responded: “It felt very much like the Kickstarter did, years ago, when we brought to the market what became the Reading Rainbow app, and then Skybrary after that. 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.”