'Jeopardy!' fans petition for 'Reading Rainbow' host Levar Burton to replace Alex Trebek after his death
Trebek, 80, died last week after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He had been the face of the popular game show for more than 30 years.
Earlier this week, a petition calling for Burton to become the "Jeopardy!" host was started on Change.org.
"Between hosting 21 seasons of the educational Reading Rainbow, playing the brainiac engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: the Next Generation, and filling the roll of Kunta Kinte in the ever important mini-series Roots, LeVar Burton has inspired and shaped the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds. This petition is to show Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and producers Mike Richards and Harry Friedman just how much love the public has for Burton, and how much we'd all love to see him as the next host of Jeopardy!" it reads.
As of Saturday afternoon, three days after the petition went live, it had over 74,200 signatures. The goal was 75,000.
Burton caught wind of the petition and responded to it positively in a tweet Thursday.
"Even if nothing comes from it, I can't tell how much I appreciate all of your love and support!" Burton wrote, along with a link to the petition.
In a second tweet, he reiterated his appreciation but also shared a note in honor of Trebek and his family.
"Of course while I'm flattered by the petition, my thoughts are definitely with Alex Trebeck's (sic) family and his millions of fans and the devastating loss of this irreplaceable legend," he wrote, along with the hashtag #LongLiveAlex.
"Jeopardy!" has yet to announce plans for a replacement. Shortly after Trebek's death, executive producer Mike Richards shared some insight into how the television icon spent his final day.
“Even in his book, he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife, Jean, and kind of watching the horizon, and he got to do that,” Richards told the "Today Show."
He added that Trebek had always been particularly fond of the swing and even fixed it himself earlier this year. Richards noted that the host was very “handy.”
Trebek hosted “Jeopardy!” since 1984, presiding over more than 8,000 episodes. He routinely talked about how much he loved hosting the popular game show and has credited fans with encouraging him throughout his cancer treatment. When production halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was one of the loudest voices calling for the show to come back safely.
Richards shared a statement with Fox News after Trebek's death, calling it an "enormous loss" to the show's staff and crew, as well as his fans.
“He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years. Working beside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continued to host 'Jeopardy!' was an incredible honor. His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to perform at the highest level was the most inspiring demonstration of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever,” Richards said.
Over the course of his career, Trebek earned a number of accolades, including five Emmy wins as best game show host, a lifetime achievement award from the TV academy in 2011, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and being named an officer of the Order of Canada – the country’s second-highest civilian honor – in 2017.
Fox News' Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.
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