The more than 100,000 who've signed a petition calling for Burton to host Jeopardy! "are on to something, because has a number of key qualities that make him the perfect bridge between the Trebek era and the one to come," says Melanie McFarland. "First, he's already a familiar face. This can cut both ways, mind you; the law that stars make TV and not the other way around very much applies here. But Trebek was already somewhat of a known factor when he came to Jeopardy!, having hosted game shows in Canada and a few in America during the '70s prior to becoming the trivia show's master of ceremonies when it was relaunched in 1984. Burton has been far more recognizable since he played Kunta Kinte in the original 1977 miniseries Roots. But most viewers under the age of 50 know him as Geordi LaForge from Star Trek: The Next Generation and/or the friendly man who instilled in them a love of books as the host of public television's Reading Rainbow. He's famous, but in a way that augments the Jeopardy! brand as opposed to overpowering it. Second, both his Star Trek role and his Reading Rainbow tenure are associated with intellectual curiosity....Third, Trebek set the tone of polite respectfulness that pulsed through that studio, in that he maintained a levelheaded calmness whether a contestant delivered the correct answer in the form of a question or got it entirely wrong. And that warmth of his was singular. Nobody can entirely replicate it, and nobody should try. The best a producer can do is select someone who comes close. And Burton fits that bill. He's consistently personable, serene and genuinely pleasant."