The actor said as much—albeit in oblique fashion—in a post published to Twitter on Friday. In it, he shared how he relates to Burton’s experience, given the time he himself spent as an underdog, relentlessly pursuing his dream project.
“Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015, Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him. It was awkward, because I agreed with them. But the studio didn’t see it,” he wrote. “Ultimately, the fans won, and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful. Hi @levarburton.”
Burton has been vying to host Jeopardy! for years, most recently serving as one of a number of celebrity guest hosts, following the passing of longtime host Alex Trebek.
Richards was also among the guest hosts whose performance was assessed by Sony Pictures Television in their quest to find a new, permanent host. While he entered talks to assume the mantle at the quiz show earlier this month, resulting difficulties saw him announce he would be stepping down from the role on August 20, after filming just one episode.
His downfall began with the surfacing of lawsuits from his time as an executive producer on The Price is Right, which alleged that he’d made insensitive comments toward, and otherwise discriminated against, models on the show.
The final nail in the proverbial coffin was a report that emerged in The Ringer, which resurfaced sexist or otherwise offensive remarks he’d made toward female co-hosts and guests on The Randumb Show, a podcast he hosted between 2013 and 2014.
Richards will continue to work on the series going forward in his role as exec producer.
Reynolds’ comment on the Reading Rainbow host’s behalf comes as his Disney/20th Century Studios film Free Guy continues to dominate the box office. Others who have advocated for Burton to take over as host include actress and comedian Yvette Nicole Brown, writer and culture critic Roxane Gay, writer-director Eric Haywood, Blindspotting‘s Rafael Casal and SNL alum Leslie Jones.
Pretty consistently from 2013 to 2015 Deadpool would explode on Twitter with fans wanting me to play him. It was awkward because I agreed with them but the studio didn’t see it. Ultimately the fans won and the rest is glorious history. I’m forever grateful.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 20, 2021
And just one more time for the greatness of it all! @VancityReynolds ❤️ THIS!
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) August 21, 2021
I think I might write an essay about this but… it shouldn’t be this hard for @levarburton to receive serious consideration as @Jeopardy host. He isn’t some random idea people have. He taught generations of children to read. He has real depth. He is charming and handsome.
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 20, 2021
When Jeopardy comes crawling back to LeVar: pic.twitter.com/DEhAlU5fod
— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) August 20, 2021
Ok @Jeopardy, you’re now in the lightning round. What clearly perfect candidate should be the permanent host?
— RAFAEL CASAL (@RafaelCasal) August 20, 2021
Lol thank you but I have watch jeopardy for years I have never wanted silliness in that show that’s what I watch wheel of fortune for Pat Sajak is fucking hilarious! So that’s why @levarburton is perfect he will bring the love of knowledge we need! I’m just saying! But thanks!
— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) August 21, 2021