After a lot of campaigning on the internet, LeVar Burton will finally get his chance to host Jeopardy!. Of course, the Star Trek actor has been pretty upfront that he'd like to take the job in a more permanent capacity if the show would have him. To get the lowdown on what would make LeVar Burton a great long-term host for the gig, I decided to ask one of his former co-workers, Gates McFadden.
McFadden, who spoke to LeVar Burton and her other Star Trek fans for her upcoming podcast Gates McFadden's InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?, was kind enough to speak to me ahead of its premiere on May 12th. The actress spoke about how well she thought Burton would do in the Jeopardy! gig and explained her ties to the family of Alex Trebek:
I think he’d be fantastic. He’s super smart, he’s such a role model and icon for so many people. And, he’s very savvy about all of that, he’s a wonderful host. I knew Alex Trebek because his son and my son were in the same class at school in Los Angeles. Lovely family, the Trebek family. So sad that Alex died so young really, because I think he could’ve gone on until he was 120.
Jeopardy! has not announced a permanent successor for Alex Trebek yet, but it has welcomed several celebrities and former champions to fill in on the show in the interim. LeVar Burton was a popular choice for the job long before he was ever actually announced to be on the show. A petition even emerged for Burton to get the job full-time, which the actor shared on his social media.
Burton has been campaigning for the Jeopardy! job for a while, and it seems, according to Gates McFadden, that he's got the confidence to think he could pull it off. The Star Trek actress recalled a conversation with him before the news of his hosting was announced and how she could see he had potential as host:
We’ll see. After Alex died I was talking to LeVar and it was a couple weeks later and I said ‘Oh God, you’d be a perfect host,’ and he said ‘I know I would.' [laughs].
As mentioned, Gates McFadden talked with LeVar Burton and others for her upcoming podcast. Other guests for Gates McFadden's InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? include Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, John de Lancie, Robert Picardo, Michael Westmore, Nana Visitor, and Denise Crosby, plus others. The podcast will feature conversations not just about Star Trek but about their personal lives as well.
Gates McFadden's InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are? premieres on major podcast platforms Wednesday, May 12. For more on CinemaBlend's conversation with Gates McFadden, be sure to read up on what she had to say about Star Trek: Picard and the possibility of an upcoming appearance.