LeVar Burton SLAMS Jeopardy! & disgraced producer Mike Richards for 'distasteful' way they snubbed him from hosting job

LEVAR Burton has slammed Jeopardy! and its disgraced producer Mike Richards for the “distasteful” way they snubbed him from the hosting job.

Fans have maintained that the 65-year-old Reading Rainbow star would’ve been perfect for the gig, had he gotten a fair shot to prove it.

While LeVar only got a short shot at guest-hosting Jeopardy!, he said he’s ultimately “happy” he hasn’t gotten the gig after how seeing how they handled everything.

It started with him calling up Mike early on in the process to gush about how much he loves the game show and would love to put his name in as a possible host, following Alex Trebek’s 2020 passing.

LeVar told The Ringer: “[Mike] told me later that he didn’t believe me. He didn’t sense in that call my passion.”

Along with agreeing with the reporter that that’s “interesting and surprising,” he added that Mike had even told him at the time that the producer “was not interested in the job.”

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The 65-year-old said that Mike told him that it was just “his job to help them find the right person for this job” and told him these things “twice.”

It wasn’t until fans created a massive online petition for LeVar to come Jeopardy!’s new host that LeVar called Mike up again to convince him that his “passion was genuine.”

This led to his guest spot a few days later, though fans were upset when the episodes aired during the Olympics, which they believe contributed to lower ratings than they would’ve wanted.

LeVar said he also partially agreed with some fan’s thinking that he was “duped by the process” a bit, saying “it was not a competition to find a new host, really, because the fix was always in.”

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He added: “It was only scandal that forced Sony Pictures Television to go in a different direction. 

“In fact, they tried to keep him on. I mean, I don’t need to rehash the chain of events. 

“It really wasn’t what they said it was. And so my conclusion is I got what I asked for: I got a tryout, I got a chance to guest host.”

After Alex's 2020 passing, a scoreboard's worth of celebrity guest hosts entered the running to be the iconic Jeopardy!'s new host.

It included actress Mayim Bialik, 46, and producer Mike – who later stepped down due to misogynistic comments.

Ken Jennings, 47, later entered the race and many are leaning towards the 74-time winner to score it for good.

The beloved TV personality shared that while he assumed “it was an equal playing field and they were really looking to find a permanent solution,” he “ultimately” was not happy with how they went about it.

“The way they got there was very distasteful and turned me off,” he said. “So I’m happy to have not gotten that job.”

Earlier this week, LeVar also opened up to Newsy's In the Loop about not being selected as one of two co-hosts (formerly Mike and Mayim, now Ken and Mayim).

Calling Jeopardy! "The game show that shall not be named,” he shared in the interview that his upcoming National Spelling Bee hosting gig was a "huge balm on an open wound.” 

“The truth is, it was my favorite game show. It really was,” he added.

He shared he had watched since the Art Fleming era, who originally helmed the program starting in 1964 when it aired during the daytime, and the late Alex taking over in 1984.

“I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it," he said, and he didn't stop there.

"As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition after all. The fix was in.”

“Experiencing a very public defeat — a humiliation if you will — was sobering.” 

"I think it was in that first week of feeling really, sort of, not just disappointed, but wrecked," he added.

"I didn't expect that I would not be their choice for host."

Luckily, he concluded, that he isn't short on jobs as "the phone hasn't stopped ringing [since]."

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Aside from his Spelling Bee gig, he’s also voicing a character on The CW’s Tom Swift, and recently joined both Starz’ Blindspotting and Paramount+’s Star Trek: Picard.

He’s also working on developing his own projects, including his own game show, based on the Trivial Pursuit brand.

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