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LeVar Burton is now guest hosting the iconic trivia game show Jeopardy!, following the likes of Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, and Anderson Cooper as the show searches for a new permanent host.
Best known for his calm demeanor as both an actor and the host of Reading Rainbow, Burton had tons of support online for the role even before his guest hosting stint actually began.
Burton is the 14th Jeopardy! guest host.
2021 has been an exciting adventure for fans of Jeopardy!, the iconic syndicated trivia show. When longtime host Alex Trebek died in November 2020, the show had already taped enough episodes in advance to run right up until the new year. (Trebek's final episode ended up airing on January 8th). After that, Jeopardy! has been going with a series of guest hosts as the producers come to a decision on who will be the show's new permanent host.
Guests have included people from all over: former champions like Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen, journalists/broadcasters like Anderson Cooper and Robin Roberts, and even star athletes like Aaron Rodgers (still my own personal favorite) have all had their shots. And now, the show's 14th guest host is one that comes with his own built-in group of people really rooting for him: Star Trek actor and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton, who's made no secret just how much he wants to become the show's next host.
As Claire McNear noted in the opening of her latest piece in The Ringer, Burton has been actively campaigning for the Jeopardy! job since at least 2013. "My dream job…? The new Host of #Jeapordy," he Tweeeted, adding the hashtag #notevenkidding to make sure his intentions were truly known. He's doubled down, tripled down, and even further through the years, even telling Esquire during a recent round of interviews that he just felt like he had to really go for this job. "I've learned enough to know what a bitter pill regret is. That’s why I was so vocal in saying that I wanted the job," he said. "I wanted the opportunity to compete."
And now that his week of guest hosting has begun, it's clear that he's got support behind him.
Here's just a taste of how some have reacted to Burton's run guest hosting Jeopardy!:
There was a lot of support for the former Star Trek star before his episode even aired.
Burton started his first episode out paying tribute to Trebek. "As a longtime viewer of the show, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to guest host Jeopardy!" he said before introducing the week's first contestants. "And I’m proud to be here to honor Alex’s legacy, and I’m gonna do my best to ensure that these talented 'Jeopardy!' contestants enjoy their moment here as well."
Users heaped the praise on Burton right away.
Many recalled Burton's Reading Rainbow days.
And others remembered his very funny appearance on Community.
Burton's own daughter, Mica Burton, had some fun with her dad's debut.
While the man himself was Tweeting in real time.
One person who didn't think his first episode was so great? Burton's own wife, Stephanie.
"I came back after taping the first episode and I said, 'So, how did I do?' She said, 'Eh, it wasn't you,'" he said during a Good Morning America appearance. "So, you know, thank God for marrying a woman who will tell you the truth—what you need to know when you need to know it."
He continued to tell the story. "So after I got the heads up from Steph, I just went out there and tried to bring as much LeVar to the moment as a possibly could," he said. "And I'm hoping that that worked out better."
So, if you didn't love Burton's first episode, don't sell your stock in him just yet.
Burton's run on Jeopardy! will continue all this week. CNBC anchor David Faber and Sports broadcaster Joe Buck will be the final two guest hosts afterwards.
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