LeVar Burton will host the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2022.
Following his week last July as guest host of Jeopardy! and the announcement he’ll headline a TV version of Trivial Pursuit, LeVar Burton—formerly Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation star, also famous as Kunta Kinte in Roots (1977) and the host of Reading Rainbow—now looks forward to hosting the semifinals and finals of the 94th Scripps National Spelling Bee, June 1-2, 2022.
Begun as a newspaper promotional stunt in 1925, the National Spelling Bee has become an arguably unlikely spectator sport. ESPN has carried coverage of the event since 1994. Next year, the Bee will air live on two Scripps-owned broadcast networks, ION and Bounce, bringing it to its biggest potential audience yet.
A longtime literacy advocate, Burton told the Associated Press why he’s excited to host the Bee:
"I want to normalize the pursuit of knowledge in this culture. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?…. Achievement through knowledge, scholarship, putting in the work to gain the reward."
LeVar Burton has made lots of quiz show news this year
Last year, thousands of fans on social media pushed to make Burton the new host of Jeopardy! Burton guest hosted the answer-and-question show for a week last July, under unfavorable conditions and to mixed reviews.
After Burton decided the experience showed him he didn’t truly want the job, he inked a deal for his company, LeVar Burton Entertainment, to develop a game show based on Trivial Pursuit, the 1980s game board phenomenon that waned in popularity but has never gone away.
Moving the National Spelling Bee from cable to broadcast TV seems a smart way to expand its audience. And bringing Burton on board as host gives the event a shot of star power—though not even Burton could, or would want to, detract from the grade school kids who, year after year, wow audiences with their stellar spelling skills.
Once Burton’s done hosting the National Spelling Bee, maybe he could host a Star Trek spelling bee for Paramount Plus? It could be fun to see various stars from the franchise earn money for their favorite charities by spelling words like “T’Kal-in-ket” or “quadrotriticale” under pressure!