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LeVar Burton to guest-host 'Jeopardy!' after lobbying for gig

"I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting 'Jeopardy!'" Burton gushed.
29th Annual PEN America LitFestGala
Randy Shropshire / Getty Images for PEN America
/ Source: TODAY

LeVar Burton has always been confident he'd make an excellent addition to "Jeopardy!" — and now the show's producers are giving him his shot.

After the former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" star, 64, voiced his interest in hosting the popular game show — and fans created an online petition in support of the idea — Burton has been announced as one of this season's upcoming guest hosts following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek last November.

The official "Jeopardy!" page on Twitter confirmed the news Wednesday, and Burton followed up with his own ecstatic tweet.

"THANK YOU... to all y’all for your passionate support! I am overjoyed, excited, and eager to be guest-hosting Jeopardy!, and will do my utmost best to live up to your faith you in me," the actor gushed.

"YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE! Go ahead and take my word for it, this time," he added.

Fans of the former "Reading Rainbow" host celebrated the news, with many pointing out that his decades of literacy advocacy more than qualify him for the spot.

"Congrats and good luck! You have so many folks pulling for you! I think Alex Trebek would be pleased : )," one wrote.

"Yes!!! It just makes sense," added another. "He taught that generation, we loved books because of him. Trebek would be proud!!"

Some are crossing their fingers that Burton's guest-host spot will evolve into a permanent position.

"We did it everybody! Now keep doing it until we’re all hearing 'Welcome to Jeopardy! with your host LeVar Burton' for the next few decades," one fan hoped.

Burton will take his spot behind the podium after many earlier guest hosts, including "Jeopardy!" champ Ken Jennings and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Fans began campaigning for Burton to be the new host of "Jeopardy!" shortly after Trebek's passing. They reasoned in their online petition that his enduring presence on the big and small screen alike make him the right candidate for the job.

Burton has made no secret of the fact that he's long dreamed of hosting the popular game show.

"This is something that I really think is a good idea," he told USA TODAY’s "The Mothership" podcast last week. "I think it’s a good fit of what the show is, what the show requires and what I feel like I bring to the table."

"I feel as strongly about my rightness for this as I did about Kunta and Geordi," he added, referring to the character Kunta Kinte in Alex Haley's novel "Roots" — whom Burton portrayed in the 1977 television miniseries — and the "Star Trek" character Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge. "And I’m that invested in getting the job."

The star also said he wanted to do "justice to the legacy of Alex."

Burton has the endorsement of at least one "Jeopardy!" expert who knows the game inside and out.

Claire McNear, author of "Answers in the Form of Questions: A Definitive History and Insider's Guide to 'Jeopardy!'" gave the actor her vote of confidence. "There's so much about this choice that makes sense," McNear told TODAY last November.

"He's this beloved, trusted, universal figure, and coming from 'Reading Rainbow,' he has that academic, intelligent side to him. This has been an obsession of fans for years," she added.