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Contestant sets record for lowest score during LeVar Burton’s ‘Jeopardy!’ hosting debut

FILE - LeVar Burton attends the 70th National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 20,...
FILE - LeVar Burton attends the 70th National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 20, 2019. Burton will serve as guest host on the game show "Jeopardy!" (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP, File)(Greg Allen | Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:00 AM CDT
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(Gray News) - LeVar Burton fans were excited to see him make his “Jeopardy!” host debut Monday, and his first episode will be one people won’t soon forget.

A contestant on the show set the all-time lowest score record with a negative $7,400.

Patrick Pearce, a product specialist from Fountain Valley, California, tried to dig himself out of debt with the Daily Double, but couldn’t come up with the correct answer, according to several media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly.

“Jeopardy!” said it will match this week’s total winnings for a donation to Reading is Fundamental.

Pearce’s low score breaks the previously held record by Stephanie Hull, who had minus $6,800 in March 2015, according to Slate.

Burton’s quest to become the new host of “Jeopardy!” has been a confident effort. But when he began taping his week’s share of episodes, Burton told the Associated Press the show’s pace and the challenge of following in Alex Trebek’s much-admired footsteps threw him off stride.

It made for a rough start to the five back-to-back tapings. So the veteran actor known for “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” turned to his wife for advice and was told to be himself.

“Jeopardy!” officials are expected to name a replacement for the late Alex Trebek later this summer.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.