(StudyFinds.org) – He might go twice as high as a butterfly in the sky, but actor LeVar Burton still has a lot of “Jeopardy!” fans to win over after his trial run as the long-time game show’s guest host. As for who America says is in the lead to replace the legendary Alex Trebek, a new poll finds the answer is “Who is Ken Jennings?”
That’s according to a recent OnePoll survey, which asked a nationally representative sample of 1,003 Americans to weigh in on how the long-running game show has evolved since the death of Mr. Trebek in 2020.
Among the respondents, 45 percent tuned into the initial broadcast of Burton’s debut episode on Monday, July 26, while another 28 percent saw clips after the airdate. After that one episode, four out of five (79%) respondents described Burton’s performance as either “good” or “great,” with less than two percent calling it “bad” or “terrible.”
Despite the rave reviews, only one in 10 (10%) believe the “Reading Rainbow” and “Star Trek” star should be the new permanent host of “Jeopardy!” Currently, record-setting “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings (23%) and executive producer Mike Richards (14%) lead the way. Burton falls in behind them, in third place.
However, that still put the game show’s most recent guest host ahead of other recent hosts like CNN’s Anderson Cooper (5%), Dr. Mehmet Oz (4%), and CNBC’s David Ferber (1%) — who is set to follow Burton’s appearance in August.
Does LeVar Burton have the edge with male viewers?
The OnePoll-conducted survey also discovered that Burton is especially popular among older respondents. In fact, 86 percent of the panelists who think the actor should replace Trebek are over the age of 45.
Men are also responding more positively to Burton’s appearance than women, not just for his hosting skills (69% vs. 47%) but to the show itself. Researchers find men were twice as likely to claim that they watch every episode of “Jeopardy!” as it airs (32% vs. 15%).
This doesn’t mean the show’s appeal is split along gender lines; in fact, 86 percent of all respondents report having a positive opinion of “Jeopardy!” in general, while less than one percent — only five of 1,003 people — actively dislike the series.
Give the people what they want?
Of course, this new support isn’t counting the more than 260,000 fans online who’ve already signed an online petition within the last year, urging Sony Pictures Entertainment to hire Burton as Alex Trebek’s successor.
Trebek, who first shared news of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019, died of the illness last November at 80 years-old. “Jeopardy!” first began trying out guest hosts on March 8 with Ken Jennings taking the lead. The show plans to continue rolling out guest hosts through Aug. 13, including Fox sportscaster Joe Buck.
In a May episode of “The Journal,” a podcast series produced by the Wall Street Journal, executive producer Mike Richards said that viewers should expect to hear a final decision later this summer as Season 38 begins filming.
TOP TEN FAVORITE “JEOPARDY!” GUEST HOSTS (SO FAR):
- Ken Jennings (23%)
- Mike Richards (14%)
- LeVar Burton (10%)
- Mayim Bialik (8%)
- Aaron Rodgers (5%)
- Katie Couric (5%)
- Anderson Cooper (5%)
- Dr. Oz (4%)
- Robin Roberts (3%)
- George Stephanopoulos (2%)