*The newest Scripps National Spelling Bee host sat down with Newsy to discuss his bee duties, his incredible Hollywood career and hosting, err, NOT hosting a certain iconic TV game show named “Jeopardy!”
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has a new host this year: Actor and author LeVar Burton. Ahead of the Spelling Bee finals, he sat down with Newsy’s Christian Bryant for a wide-ranging candid conversation about his career, getting the call to host the Bee, and recent controversy around who would host the popular TV game show Jeopardy!
In an exclusive interview with Newsy’s “In The Loop,” Burton tells host Christian Bryant he was “not just disappointed, but wrecked” by losing the bid to become the host of “Jeopardy.”
Burton also talks about hosting this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, broadcasting live on ION and Bounce from 8-10 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 2.
The full interview with LeVar Burton will air on Newsy’s “In The Loop” at 9p ET on Wednesday. Here’s how to watch.
On feeling “not just disappointed, but wrecked” by not getting the job as host of ‘Jeopardy‘:
“Experiencing a very public defeat, humiliation, if you will, was sobering. And what I learned from the experience, really, is that it reinforced my belief that everything happens for a reason, even if you cannot discern the reason in the moment. In the fullness of time, everything will be revealed. And like I said, it was I think in that first week of feeling really sort of not just disappointed, but wrecked. I didn’t expect that I would not be their choice for host. And the doors have been opened. Windows have been opened. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, and I never would have experienced those things that I’m experiencing, like hosting the Scripps Spelling Bee, had I gotten that job. So I think it was a big lesson for me and just being willing to sit in the discomfort long enough to find out what was really supposed to happen for me around this game show thing.”
On the ‘Jeopardy’ host search being “fixed”:
“The truth is it was my favorite game show. It really was. I mean, I watched that show since I was in the third grade and Art Fleming was the host. And I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it. As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition, after all, the fix was in.”
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) July 26, 2021
On the takeaways he learned after not getting the top job at ‘Jeopardy’:
“Well, there are a lot and I, I believe I’m still mining some of the takeaways from that experience. First and foremost, I’m a firm believer in betting on myself, and I would encourage anyone and everyone out there to believe. Similarly in themselves. I’m always going to bet on me.”
On getting the call to host the Scripps National Spelling Bee:
“Well, it happened in the same timeframe, if not the same week, that I was not named the host of the game-show-that-shall-not-be-named. And so to get the call from the Scripps Spelling Bee about hosting this tournament was a huge balm on an open wound. And I thought, ‘Oh, well, at least they see me, they see me, they see me.’ And, you know, I’m definitely one to go where I’m wanted and loathe to go where I’m not invited.”
Newsy’s full interview with LeVar Burton premieres at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on “In The Loop.” (Here’s how to watch.) And don’t forget to watch the Spelling Bee finals Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ION.