After nearly a decade of anticipation and a massive public push, LeVar Burton finally made his Jeopardy! guest hosting debut Monday night. 

The actor previously taped five episodes of the game show, calling the experience a challenge that was “really scary” due to the pressure to fill the shoes of former, long-time host Alex Trebek. 

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

Burton joined a slew of other guest hosts like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and former contestant Ken Jennings in the competition to secure the permanent host position. 

“The pressure, the natural tendency was to want to live up to Alex’s example, his legacy,” the former Reading Rainbow host shared. "I had, like all of the hosts, one day of rehearsal and the following day I shot five episodes of Jeopardy! I came backstage after taping the first episode and I said to Stephanie [Burton’s wife], ‘Well, how did I do?’ She said, ‘ehhh.’" 

“Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth. She said it wasn’t me,” he added. “I made it my business for the next four chances at bat to just be myself, to forget about the procedure, to forget about the process, stop trying, stop focusing on the wrong thing. You’re not going to be smooth as Alex, let go of that. But what you can bring to the table is you. So that became my point of focus. And when it did, I started having fun.”

The actor, who played Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has publicly stated over the years that Jeopardy! is the only game show he’s ever wanted to host. Following Trebek’s death in Nov. 2020 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, fans started a petition for Burton to become his successor. 

To date, the petition, which cites Burton for inspiring and shaping “the minds of several generations of trivia-loving nerds,” has garnered over 250,000 signatures.

"I've been asked over the past couple weeks, 'what is this about?' And I think it has something to do with the fact that this generation of adults who grew up on Reading Rainbow feel like I have made an investment in them and they are returning the favor," Burton said during Good Morning America.

The 64-year-old also said that he believes in the medium of television “to do more than simply entertain,” something he says he’s been working toward over the course of his 45-year career. 

"I know that we have the opportunity when we do it with consciousness to inform, to enlighten, to educate, to even uplift ourselves with the stories that we tell one another and I see 'Jeopardy!' as absolutely in the sweet spot of that Venn diagram," he added.

Burton also discussed the possibility of becoming the first Black person to host the show.

“Every time we reach that milestone of a first, it does say something about us [America]. It also tells us something that we continue to have these moments of firsts….that white is the normative default,” he said.

As Burton’s petition for permanent host continues to collect signatures, fans are continuing to rally for him on social media, an act he called “amazing grace.” 

Regardless of the outcome, however, Burton said he will continue to hold his head high and is thankful to have his lifelong dream come true.

“Look, if I don’t get this job, will it be devastating to me? No. I mean, it will hurt, I’ll be disappointed. And I’ll be fine, because what I know about my life is that which is supposed to be for me comes my way. And that which is not mine, doesn’t,” Burton said. 

“The most important thing is that I went for it and my passion was rewarded. I got what I wanted, which was an opportunity to compete for the job. If I don’t get the gig, it’s not immaterial, but it certainly is secondary. I got what I was after. The chance — get me in the room,” he concluded.

Burton will guest host Jeopardy! July 26 through July 30.