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As many still question why LeVar Burton, the fan favorite to succeed Alex Trebek on Jeopardy, didn't get the permanent hosting job on the long-running game show, the TV ratings for his weeklong guest host stint have been made available.
It turns out Burton's episodes drew the lowest average viewership numbers out of all of the recorded guest hosts, though it more speaks to the downward track Jeopardy was already on since the beginning of the year.
Burton's guest-host turn, which ran from July 26 to July 30, saw an average rating of 4.4, according to Nielsen. This was lower than Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, who guest hosted Jeopardy the week before and garnered an average rating of 4.7. CNBC's David Faber, who hosted from Aug. 2 to Aug. 6, received 4.5 when the show was rebranded Jeopardy-Olym in light of the Tokyo Olympics.
Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings received the highest rating so far of any guest host with an average of 6.0 for his week on the air, but he was the very first one out the gate earlier this year, making him the first guest to host the show after Trebek died at the age of 80 from stage 4 pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020. There remained a lot of buzz at the time around who might be the successor.
Carol Kaelson/Jeopardy Productions, Inc LeVar Burton on 'Jeopardy.'
From there, ratings steadily declined. Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards, who was recently named the new permanent host of Jeopardy proper, had an average rating of 5.9. By the time the roster got to The Big Bang Theory and Blossom actress Mayim Bialik, who guested from May 31 to June 11, the ratings were consistently averaging around 5.1. Bialik was later tapped to permanently host Jeopardy's prime-time and spin-off series.
It's difficult to understand the thinking behind what the producers of Jeopardy were looking for in a potential permanent host, but perhaps ratings played a factor, for better or worse.
Burton remains in good spirits. When reports about Richards being the frontrunner to permanently host were circling, the Reading Rainbow and Star Trek icon tweeted, "I have said many times over these past weeks that no matter the outcome, I've won. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and fans alike has been incredible! If love is the ultimate blessing and I believe that it is, I am truly blessed beyond measure."