‘Jeopardy!’: Upcoming Guest Host LeVar Burton Explains Why Appearance ‘Was Not Relaxed at All’

by Thad Mitchell

It is the moment that a lot of people have been waiting for as television personality LeVar Burton is next up as guest host of “Jeopardy!”

“Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts wrapped up her guest-hosting stint last Friday. The journalist and television host did an excellent job by most accounts and received much praise for her tenure. But, LeVar Burton fans have long been clamoring for his appearance on “Jeopardy!” as guest host.

Burton wasn’t on the initial list of guest hosts for the heavily popular game show if you recall. So, fans started a petition to get the former “Reading Rainbow” host a guest-hosting spot and were successful. Burton is set to begin his one-week stint as host this Monday with his tenure ending the following Friday.

In a recent interview with the Seattle Times, Burton talks about his time and experience on the show. The longtime television personality says the week started off “scary” but ended with a lot of fun. Burton speaks the preparation that goes into the show from all that are involved. He also speaks on the differences between watching from home versus actually being there in the moment. Burton notes that focus and concentration are key attributes that must be possessed by a “Jeopardy!” host.

“Being at home, it feels like a really relaxed half-hour, but it’s not relaxed at all,” he says in the interview. “You can’t let your focus drop for a nanosecond.”

‘Jeopardy!’ Pacing Is a Challenge for Guest Hosts

It is a sentiment that has been echoed by other “Jeopardy!” guest hosts as well. Other celebrity hosts, including Aaron Rodgers and Savannah Guthrie, have noted that keeping the pace of the show is a challenge. Both were certainly up for the challenge and had successful outings in the role of guest host.

Burton also says he is up for the challenge and says things began to slow down as the week progressed. He says after the first episode, he began to settle in and got better as the week went along. Burton focused on being himself and says he had a blast as the nerves went away his personality came out.

“You’re not going to be smooth as Alex, let go of that,” he says. “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.”

Burton is, of course, referring to the late Alex Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for the better part of four decades. Trebek passed away late last year at the age of 80 after battling pancreatic cancer. Since his passing, the hosting duties have been turned over to a slew of celebrities. “Jeopardy!” hopes to a have new permanent host at some point this year.