LeVar Burton’s debut on Jeopardy! was a memorable one, as the American actor, director, and children’s television host kicked off his highly anticipated run as a guest host of the quiz show. However, the upbeat, confident effort by Burton was thrown off by the show’s pace and Burton’s internally perceived challenge of following Alex Trebek’s footsteps.
According to Associated Press News, the debut took a heavy toll on LeVar Burton, who had a rough start during five back-to-back shoots that began airing on Monday, July 26. The Roots and Star Trek: TNG star stated that, despite feeling like a relaxed half an hour while viewing the show, the filming experience is very tense and focus-demanding. While preparing to guest host, Burton has been watching and assessing his competition for the position of the regular Jeopardy! host, previously held by the legendary Alex Trebek and Art Fleming – the show’s original host from the ’60s and ’70s.
Before his addition to the show, Burton has made the show’s producers aware of his interest in hosting Jeopardy!. However, his addition to the roster was facilitated by a petition that backed him up with more than 250,000 signatures. Despite going through an intense shooting experience, and facing other similarly eager and perhaps equally qualified would-be hosts, including Robin Roberts, David Faber, and Mayim Bialik, the actor still considers himself a solid match for a game show that rewards knowledge.
But the pressure and natural tendency to live up to Alex Trebek and Art Fleming’s example seems to have shaken LeVar Burton. Upon concluding the shooting of five episodes of Jeopardy! Burton’s wife remarked on his performance, stating that it was too tense to make the role natural. So, he made it his business to stop attempting to live up to the legacy of Alex Trebek and focus more on the show itself. And, according to him, that’s when he started having fun – especially considering that he’s an education and literacy advocate.
His advocacy, including his work on Reading Rainbow, an educational children’s television series, makes him a good match for a Jeopardy! host. Shows like Reading Rainbow, Roots, and Star Trek all have one thing in common: an informational, inspiring, and enlightening character with a twist of entertainment, making Jeopardy! a natural and logical next step and an extension of LeVar Burton’s 45-year long career. And according to him, he still wants the job, despite the intense taping experience.
You can see some of the fan’s reactions to LeVar Burton as host below.
Jeopardy! is an American television game show, which features a quiz competition with contestants phrasing their responses in the form of questions. Over time, the show enjoyed a massive viewership and received many awards and accolades from professional television critics, winning a record 39 Daytime Emmy Awards. By 1994, the show was called “an American icon” by the media.
It was first aired in 1964 with Art Flemming as the show’s host, until he was succeeded by Alex Trebek in 1984, who remained the show’s host, up until his death on November 8, 2020. To compensate for the delay caused by Trebek’s unfortunate departure, Sony announced “filler” hosts with educational backgrounds, which introduced LeVar Burton as the possible host.