LeVar Burton Wanted Geordi To Get The Girl On ‘Star Trek: TNG,’ And Really Wants That ‘Jeopardy!’ Gig

LeVar Burton - TrekMovie

LeVar Burton has been in the public eye since he was 19 and starred in the iconic miniseries “Roots,” and never left. He was recently interviewed by thNew York Times about fame, his public persona vs. his private one, and the next big job he’s up for: hosting Jeopardy!. During the interview, he also talked a bit about the importance of his role as Geordi La Forget on Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as road not taken by the writers that he’d change if he could.

He wishes Geordi had gotten the girl sometimes

There’s always a character on every Star Trek series who gets one romantic adventure after another, and occasionally one who just keeps failing. On The Next Generation, it was Geordi. He was known for being awkward on dates and for his one-way attraction to various women, but his most famous romantic folly came when he fell in love with a hologram of Dr. Leah Brahms, then met the real woman only to find out that she was married. Burton told the NYT that Geordi’s consistent failure in romance definitely bothered him.

It felt like a tired trope. It is a tired trope. Were we to do that show today, I would insist that the writers be more creative.

Geordi La Forge and Leah Brahms in Star Trek: The Next Generation's 'Booby Trap"

Geordi La Forge and the Dr. Leah Brahms hologram in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s ‘Booby Trap”

That said, he’s still proud of what Geordi represented, how his iconic roles have connected, and his legacy as a Black actor.

There are times when I experience my life as having been for a specific purpose. I look at Kunta. I look at Geordi. I’ve been able to express humanity as enslaved in the past and as free in the future and do it as a completely liberated Black man. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

With the chances pretty high that he’ll be turning up on Star Trek: Picard season 3, Geordi’s story isn’t over yet; we may find out his awkward days are a thing of the past.

He really, REALLY wants the Jeopardy! gig

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died last year after a record-setting 37-year run, there has been speculation on who would take over his duties. The show has been rotating through a series of guest hosts like Mayim Bialik, former Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Katie Couric, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, among others. Still to come: George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, and more, with Burton’s hosting stint scheduled for July 16th through the 30th. He talked about why the job matters so much to him.

It’s difficult to explain, but there’s something inside me that says this makes sense. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I have been watching “Jeopardy!” more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host. “Jeopardy!” is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant. Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. “Roots,” “Star Trek,” “Reading Rainbow.” Won a Grammy. Got a shelf full of Emmys. I’m a storyteller, and game shows are tremendous stories. There’s a contest, there’s comedy, there’s drama. If you don’t know your [expletive] on “Jeopardy!” you’re sunk in full view of the entire nation. The stakes are high. I love that.

And while he’s been emphatic in the press and on social media about just how much he wants the job, he admits that he would find a way to take it in stride.

 It will hurt. I’m not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It’s all going to be OK. Because it
always is.

LeVar Burton guest hosting Jeopardy!

A first look at LeVar Burton guest hosting Jeopardy!

He doesn’t always get the gig, either

Burton has had tremendous professional success, but he didn’t always get the roles he wanted.

I really wanted the job of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in “Ragtime.” It didn’t go my way. There was the time that I found out that the producers of “Glory” wanted me for the role that Denzel Washington ended up playing, and “Star Trek” would not agree to let me go. When the movie came out and then Denzel won an Academy Award, I thought, Hmm . [Laughs.] But it wasn’t for me, and I’ve made peace with that. That which is mine, no one can take away. That which is not meant for me, no amount of wishing or stamping my feet will make it so.

(Yes, he just said “Make it so”—for the first time in his life, he told interviewer David Marchese.)

Ultimately, he’s pragmatic about the way his career has gone… and grateful.

I’m not only still here but I’m still making a contribution. Those times in the past when I felt like I
wasn’t getting my due, out of jealousy or ego — that’s natural, but it’s self-destructive. I learned how to minimize my response to those feelings to the point where I rarely have them anymore. When I didn’t get certain acting jobs, it forced me to develop other skill sets, and that was obviously part of the plan because now I’m able to do what I do as an actor, writer, producer, director, podcaster, storyteller, public speaker. It all happened perfectly because here I am. I feel like this life is a gift.

Read the full New York Times interview with LeVar Burton.

Keep up on Star Trek celebrities at TrekMovie.com.

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He sounds like a person who is incredibly balanced, with a lot of wisdom to offer. As one who works in an arts profession (with plenty of “what ifs”) what he said in these quotes is helpful to me.

I’m so excited to watch his stint on Jeopardy! I’ve been somewhat keeping up with the latest guest hosts, but none have really drawn me in (though I will say Aaron Rodgers was surprisingly good). Here’s hoping LeVar Burton can blow us all away.

Aaron Rodgers was indeed quite enjoyable as host. Most of the guest hosts have been decent (albeit some better than others, of course). The only one I’d say was truly bad was Mehmet Oz. But I think Ken Jennings probably has been best (which stands to reason, given that he probably already had more time in front of Jeopardy! cameras than anyone else except Alex Trebek himself).

But I do agree with so many that LeVar Burton’s whole career and his screen persona and all just feels like an incredibly natural fit for Jeopardy!, and I’m really excited to see his run. If he’s even half as good as I expect, he should be terrific, and hopefully chosen as the new permanent host.

Wonderful perspective.

It would be amazing for him to be in this role.

i hope he gets it. i like aaron rodgers, but levar is much more natural in that role.

Georgie and Leah did marry in the timeline from All Good Things. They could be together in Picard…

LeVar is the embodiment of all that is awesome in society… from Roots to Star Trek and don’t even get me started on Reading Rainbow! Dude is awesome and has an immensely under appreciated record.

Geordi never got the girl on screen but he did make to Captain in awesome episode of Voayger which he also directed.

I would definitely make more of an effort to watch the show if he were host.

I think he’d be a perfect host. He’s a good interviewer, warm, smart, has won the show before, has a dovetailing fanbase. He should probably tamp down on publicly pursuing it so much though, there’s always that fine line between stoking public enthusiasm for something and then actively campaigning to the point of it feeling unseemly.

For example, I was not sold on the idea of Chris Pratt ever becoming Indiana Jones, but the moment he actually said on camera that we would love to take the part even though Harrison Ford is alive and kicking, he lost my respect. Burton did mention it while Trebek was still alive, so… fine line!

He lost your respect because he said he wanted the job? That’s just silly.

Outside of politics, it’s bad form for someone to actively campaign for someone else’s job. I would think you would feel the same if someone was publicly saying they wanted to take your job even though you had given no indication that you were giving it up.

I think it was well known that Trebek was planning to retire before long.

Which is why it’s not as bad for Burton to mention it, Trebek broached the topic already. Chris Pratt was talking out of turn.

In part 5 they have three options kill Indiana Jones off and end the series, recast or pass the torch. Honestly the series ended with him marrying Marion Ravenwood, that was his prize. His fortune and glory. And they weren’t about to make a Mutt Jones trilogy, so i have no idea where they can go with it.

Don’t forget he played Kwame in Captain Planet :-)

I think LeVar Burton is ideally suited for the job.

With many of the guest hosts it seems like either they were not that good or just didn’t have the encyclopedic knowledge you need to be the host. With Levar you have that knowledge and you also have someone that really really wants the job and it isn’t just some ego feeding thing. As far as Lafarge I never that he was a good match with Leia Brahms. If you remember from the two times she was there, the first time was the computer simulation which showed her to be more laid back but when he met the real one he found her to be a bit too anal for him. But yet in the last episode Picard fantasy he was married to her but I guess that never happen.

“encyclopedic knowledge”

That comes from the production staff.