Monday’s “Jeopardy!” had the honor of housing two historic moments for the show: LeVar Burton’s long-awaited debut as guest host and a contestant setting a new record for the competition’s all-time lowest score.
Yes, the best “Jeopardy!” day ever for many fans — due to the “Reading Rainbow” alum’s inclusion — was also the worst for Patrick Pearce, a produce specialist from Fountain Valley, Calif. Pearce racked up a score of -$7,400, besting (in a bad way) previous record holder Stephanie Hull’s -$6,800 in March 2015.
Pearce competed against Kathleen McHugh and Matt Amodio, the latter of whom is now the show’s reigning four-day champion.
Burton, a veteran actor, former “Reading Rainbow” host and star in “Star Trek,” will be the “Jeopardy!” guest host through the end of the week. He taped his episodes several months ago, which spurred some considerable hype leading up to their debut.
“Jeopardy!” has been without a permanent host since beloved emcee — and host of 37 seasons since 1984 — Alex Trebek passed away last November. The show has since rotated through guest hosts, with no indication yet that it will pick a permanent person to stand behind the podium. Previous guest hosts have included Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Ken Jennings, Dr. Oz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Mayim Bialik, Sanjay Gupta and NFL star Aaron Rodgers.
Before being offered one of the guest host positions on “Jeopardy!,” Burton signed a fan petition to make him the show’s next host in 2013, and said three years ago that “there is only one game show I’ve ever wanted to host… This Is Jeopardy!”
Burton’s Night 1 performance as guest host made many fans even more enthusiastic about the idea of him becoming the permanent host of “Jeopardy!” But while he may have won over social media, we won’t know how Burton did in TV ratings until the Nielsen returns for his debut come in next month. While you wait for those to arrive, you can see how the previous “Jeopardy!” guest hosts have fared here.