LeVar Burton says ‘Jeopardy!’ tapings got off to rough start: ‘Can’t let your focus drop for a nanosecond’

TV Jeopardy LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton, the next “Jeopardy!” guest host, said his first taping got off to a shaky start. “Being at home, it feels like a really relaxed half-hour, but it’s not relaxed at all,” he told the Associated Press. (Carol Kaelson/Jeopardy Productions, Inc. via AP)

(NEXSTAR) – LeVar Burton’s interest in becoming the permanent host of “Jeopardy!” hasn’t waned despite a “scary” experience during filming.

Burton, whose tapings begin to air on Monday, told the Associated Press that his experience as guest host started off a bit shakier than he had hoped, mostly because he needed to adjust to the pacing of the show.

“Being at home, it feels like a really relaxed half-hour, but it’s not relaxed at all,” he told the AP, describing the gig as “really, really scary” at first.

“You can’t let your focus drop for a nanosecond.”

After taping the first of five back-to-back episodes, Burton says he took a break to ask wife Stephanie Cozart Burton how he was doing, to which she answered, “ehhh.”

“Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth,” Burton said.

For the rest of the taping, Burton quickly learned to just “be myself” — and that’s when he started having fun.

Burton also said he felt he’d be a natural fit if chosen for the hosting gig, as his previous work — “Roots,” “Star Trek,” “Reading Rainbow” — shared qualities with “Jeopardy!” in that they sought to provide viewers with more than mere entertainment.

“They all have that commonality about them, that common thread of entertainment, yes — and informational, inspiring, enlightening, educational, uplifting. We can do so much more than just sell each other stuff with [TV],” he said.

Burton’s episodes begin airing Monday. He’ll be followed by CNBC’s David Faber, whose episodes begin airing Aug. 2.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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