LeVar Burton Honours Alex Trebek in 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Debut

A contestant also set a new record for the all-time lowest score
LeVar Burton Honours Alex Trebek in 'Jeopardy!' Hosting Debut
Photo: Jeopardy!
Following the death of longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek last year, fans launched a widely circulated petition in an effort to get LeVar Burton a turn behind the podium, and the Star Trek/Reading Rainbow icon officially began his run as a guest host last night (July 26).

"As a longtime viewer of the show, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guest host Jeopardy!" Burton said upon stepping onstage. "And I'm proud to be here to honour Alex's legacy. I'm gonna do my best to ensure that these talented Jeopardy! contestants enjoy their moment here as well." Burton will serve as guest host of Jeopardy! from July 26 to 30, after tweeting in 2013 that becoming the show's quiz master would be a "dream job."

"Everything that I'm about is in the same vein as Jeopardy!" Burton told Esquire in an interview published last week. "The idea of education being a value or a principle, and that education should be available to everyone. We take that nightly quiz and test ourselves against those champions, and we play the game as a nation every night. The things that I've done in terms of using the medium of television to do more than simply entertain — bringing a little more to the table to educate, inform, enlighten, uplift... Jeopardy! does those things too."

Burton also called shooting his set of Jeopardy! episodes as host was "the scariest thing I've ever done."

"I've done a lot of things to test myself, like jumping out of an airplane and walking on hot coals with Tony Robbins... With Jeopardy!, the pressure is, 'Am I doing everything that I need to be doing?' There's such an expectation, or at least an expectation that I put on myself, to do Alex's memory proud — to bring the same standard for excellence that I apply in every other aspect of my life to these five shows."

He concluded: "I think at the end of the day, what I needed to do was just be myself. I had to just relax and not concern myself so much with the mechanics, because Alex had decades to perfect the way he made it look so effortless. The one thing I hope I was able to do was just be myself."

Burton's debut on Jeopardy! also coincided with a contestant setting a new record for the competition's all-time lowest score. Patrick Pearce finished the evening with a score of -$7,400, passing the previous record of -$6,800 set by Stephanie Hull in March 2015.