Set to host the 94th Scripps Spelling Bee this week, Burton spoke with Newsy about his upcoming gig. Burton disclosed that he got the call about working with the national spelling bee around the same time that he found out that he wasn't chosen to be a "Jeopardy" host.
“It happened in the same time frame, if not the same week, that I was not named the host of the game show that shall not be named,” Burton told Newsy. “And so to get the call from Scripps Spelling Bee about hosting this tournament was a huge balm on an open wound.”
Burton continued, “I thought, ‘Ah, at least they see me. They see me, they see me.’ I’m definitely one to go where I’m wanted and loath to go where I’m not invited.”
The Scripps Spelling Bee host added that he had been a dedicated "Jeopardy" fan since third grade.
“I honestly thought that I was well-suited for it,” Burton said. “As it turns out, it really wasn’t a competition after all. The fix was in.”
Burton went on to share how he felt following his "Jeopardy" rejection.
“Experiencing a very public defeat — a humiliation if you will — was sobering,” he said.
"I think it was in that first week of feeling really, sort of, not just disappointed, but wrecked," Burton continued. "I didn't expect that I would not be their choice for host."
After Alex Trebek's death, Burton was one of the rotating guests who stepped in to host the long-running show. Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings were eventually crowned as the permanent hosts in September 2021.
Despite his disappointment, Burton said he believes everything happens for a reason.
"The phone hasn't stopped ringing," he said.