LeVar Burton opens up about guest hosting ‘Jeopardy!’: ‘I was absolutely petrified’

LeVar Burton attends the 8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center
Photo credit Rich Fury/Getty Images

Alex Trebek left huge shoes to fill as the host of “Jeopardy!” and LeVar Burton is opening up about the difficulty of the job.

Burton, known for his roles on “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” spoke to The Associated Press about his experience working as a guest host on the mega-hit game show.

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“This was a real challenge,” the 64-year-old actor said.

Burton revealed that his wife and makeup artist Stephanie Cozart sat behind stage for support during filming.

“I came backstage after taping the first episode and I said to Stephanie, ‘Well, how did I do?’" he told the outlet.

“She said, ‘ehhh.’”

Alex Trebek worked as the host of the show from 1984 until his death in November 2020. In a pre-taped interview posted by “Jeopardy!," Burton spoke on his admiration for the late broadcast legend.

“Alex did this for 37 years. The man was like butter,” Burton said. "For me, I think all in all, I’m going to walk away happy tonight.”

When asked if he was nervous to be a guest host on the show, Burton responded, “I was more than nervous. I was absolutely petrified and I don’t know if that feeling will ever go away.”

Burton is one of several celebrity guests with their eye on the open position. Other celebrities who have tried out for the show include Katie Couric, Dr. Mehmet Ox, and Aaron Rodgers, NY Post reports.

Burton said that this position is very different than it seems from the viewer’s perspective.

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

Burton taped five episodes in one day with only one day of rehearsal beforehand.

His "Jeopardy!" shows will air this upcoming week, starting Monday, July 26th.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize