LeVar Burton is booked and busy!
The legendary actor and longtime host of the children’s educational program “Reading Rainbow,” has just been announced as the next host of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, ABC News reports.
Since the unsuccessful public campaign to become the permanent host of “Jeopardy!,” the opportunities have continued to pour in for Burton. He was named as the 2022 Rose Parade grand marshal and is currently set to host and executive produce a television version of the classic board game “Trivial Pursuit.” Burton was more than happy to accept the invitation to host the 94th Scripps National Spelling Bee, responding with an immediate yes and describing it as "an honor."
“Like a lot of folks, I look forward to the competition every year and am excited to be a part of this wonderful tradition that celebrates excellence," Burton said.
Speaking of excellence, Burton was one of the many people rooting for the now reigning national spelling bee champion Zaila Avant-garde as she became the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee – telling the Associated Press, “Zaila was a surprise, and a bit of an anomaly. I'm big for rooting for the underdog. As an underdog myself, I really identify."
From “Roots”, to “Reading Rainbow,” to “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Burton has captured the hearts and minds of generations. We know in his new role as host of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, he’ll continue to do the same.
There are currently no details regarding Burton's hosting duties as the competition is transitioning into a new era following the end of its 27-year partnership with ESPN. The show is now set to air on Scripps-owned networks ION and Bounce – as well as stream online with the televised semifinals and finals being held on June 1 and June 2, 2022 respectively.
“The selection of Mr. Burton as host aligns with the mission of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” said Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in a press release. “To have such a prominent advocate for children’s literacy involved in this special and unique competition is a perfect match. We have the same goals: to educate tomorrow’s leaders and build reading competency in all young people.”
A perfect match indeed. Congratulations, Mr. Burton!
Photo Courtesy of LeVar Burton Entertainment