‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host LeVar Burton Had To ‘Stop Focusing on’ Being As Smooth As Alex Trebek

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

After his first show as “Jeopardy!” guest host, actor LeVar Burton found that he needed to do a little adjusting on how he approached it.

Burton, who has campaigned publicly to become the next full-time host on “Jeopardy!” next season, found himself trying to be too much like late host Alex Trebek. The “Reading Rainbow” host and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor re-evaluated his work.

He talked about it in an article in The Seattle Times. Burton was asked by an Associated Press reporter how he adjusted his approach.

‘Jeopardy!’ Guest Host Started Simply Being Himself Instead of Fitting Mold

“I made it my business for the next four chances at-bat to just be myself,” he said. “To forget about the procedure, to forget about the process, stop trying, stop focusing on the wrong thing.”

Burton also said, “You’re not going to be smooth as Alex [Trebek], let go of that. But what you can bring to the table is you. So that became my point of focus. And when it did, I started having fun.”

Some “Jeopardy!” guest hosts have had to learn about the pacing of the show. A number of them have even noted how well Trebek, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020, would keep the show moving. They commented on how easy he made it all look.

Fans of the long-running game show will get their chance to see Burton in action starting Monday. Expect plenty of them to have their opinions on how he does as a guest host.

Guest Hosts Have Filled In Throughout This Season On Game Show

This season of “Jeopardy!” shows have been filled with guest hosts. They’ve included past “Tournament of Champions” winners Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, TV reporters Anderson Cooper and Bill Whitaker, and actor Mayim Bialik, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Upcoming guest hosts include CNBC contributor David Faber and Fox Sports sportscaster Joe Buck. Executive producer Mike Richards, who also was a guest host for two weeks, will then decide who takes over permanently for Trebek.

It will be a highly-anticipated announcement in the coming weeks.

Obviously, if you have been watching “Jeopardy!” this season, then you know each guest host has the opportunity to pick a charity of their choice.

The game show matches the contestants’ winnings during that time and donates the equivalent amount.

For his turn behind the lectern, Burton chose Reading is Fundamental, a literacy non-profit that gives free books and reading resources to kids. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Burton would pick a charity like that one.

After all, the former “Reading Rainbow” host has been trying his darndest to get children to read for years.