For everyone who long campaigned for LeVar Burton to guest-host Jeopardy!, today is absolutely a bittersweet day. It marks the final day of his week-long hosting stint, and it comes now with questions about what the future holds.
Will the former Star Trek: The Next Generation star and Reading Rainbow host be considered for the full-time gig? It’s a complicated question, especially since there are two mitigating factors amidst his reign. First, you have the complication of his shows airing opposite the Olympics — Jeopardy! was preempted in certain major markets this week, and that could put a dent in the ratings.
Meanwhile, some headlines on the show itself may shift the focus somewhat away from him. Take, for example, Matt Amodio becoming a dominant player throughout the week and even finishing with more than $70,000 in a single show. Or, think back to when a contestant broke the record for worst performance ever at the start of the week.
Burton’s stint on the show has admittedly not been perfect. You could see the nerves shine through especially on his first outing, but we sense that as a byproduct of someone who cares deeply about the job and wanting to honor it. You could see his comfort level grow and subsequent shows, with his shining quality being his enthusiasm. It was immediately evident that LeVar loved the thrill and even the fear of being in front of that lectern. You have to grow accustomed to the speed and the timing that comes along with the gig, and these are far more challenging than anyone would at first realize.
Our hope is that we hear about a permanent host within the weeks ahead — from our vantage point, Burton should be considered a top candidate alongside The Big Bang Theory alum Mayim Bialik and former contestant Ken Jennings. While other guest hosts have been great, these three seem to best understand the soul of the show — it’s about a love of learning more so than some television extravaganza. (Mike Richards also did a solid job, but we’d prefer him to stay on as executive producer.)
Do you think LeVar Burton should be named full-time Jeopardy! host after this week?
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