Jeopardy!: Did Timing Kill Guest Host LeVar Burton's Ratings Chances?

Seems like LeVar Burton might have been a victim of Jeopardy's declining ratings when it was his turn to guest host. While a sentimental favorite to replace the late Alex Trebek as permanent host, one of the honors went to executive producer Mike Richards, who scored a Nielsen average of 5.9, only 0.1 down from first guest host Ken Jennings when the game show adopted the format following Trebek's passing in November. According to an analysis from Entertainment Weekly, ratings have been on a steady decline with each new host with Burton, unfortunately, being on the tail end at 4.4 during his stint from July 26 to July 30.

Jeopardy! Host LeVar Burton Part of History in Contestant Futility
Image courtesy of Sony Television

How LeVar Burton's Jeopardy! Stint Compares to Others

As a point of reference, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, who preceded the Star Trek: The Next Generation actor, averaged a 4.7 rating. CNBC's David Faber, who hosted from August 2-6, received 4.5 while the Sony series timed it to cross-promote with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Following Richards, Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory, Call Me Kat) hosted from May 31 to June 11 averaging around 5.1. The actress will share permanent Jeopardy! hosting duties with Richards on the prime-time and spin-off series. Guest hosts featured a wide range of personalities from TV hosts, former contestants, actors, and active NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

While the online campaign helped Burton realize his dream at least temporarily, the Reading Rainbow host remains humble at the opportunity despite the outcome tweeting, "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." Can we find another game show for this man to host? I'm sure ABC can afford to revive more beyond Press Your Luck, Pyramid, and Card Sharks, right?

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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