On Monday I achieved my life-long dream of being a contestant on “Jeopardy!” I cannot tell you about the game itself, as contestants sign a twelve-page release that includes a non-disclosure agreement. I can tell you that the program will air in the U.S. on Thursday, October 27th, and if you don’t already know which local station airs the program, go to http://www.jeopardy.com/about/find-your-station.
The program tapes ten episodes, i.e., two weeks of broadcasts, each week. Though tapings are often on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, this week they were Monday and Tuesday. On Monday morning, I joined most of the week’s contestants on the van from our hotel to the Sony Pictures Studio, which was once the famed MGM Studios. Our camaraderie developed quickly from even before we boarded the van, and it grew throughout the morning. Of course we viewed ourselves as competitors, but throughout the day we wished each of us well.
At the studio we we were guided by the very helpful contestant coordinators: Maggie Speak, Corina Nusu, and Laurie Janover. I had met Maggie, and I think Laurie as well, at my two auditions (2006 and 2015). Glenn Kagan ran us through our rehearsals, standing in for Alex Trebek. We taped three games in the morning, took a lunch break, and then did two more episodes to wrap the day.
The taping stops where commercial breaks will be inserted: after the first part of Jeopardy, at the end of Jeopardy, at the end of Double Jeopardy, and between that and Final Jeopardy. During the breaks Alex and Johnny Gilbert take questions from the audience. Alex was very open and friendly, and has a wry sense of humor. In the audience were my wife and brother, my friend June, and her two daughters.
All-in-all, the day was everything I’d hoped it would be: incredible fun and a chance to work with a group of talented and friendly people, both the staff and my fellow contestants. You can see all of them beginning on October 24, and me on October 27th. Check out the contestant profiles that week to learn about my new-found friends, and please join me in thanking the entire crew, who are listed at http://www.jeopardy.com/about/cast/full-staff.
I may live-tweet my local broadcast, but since it airs at different times in different markets, and we have the added complication of time zones, I will decide on that later. Also, I may have a few words about strategy and other details after the show has aired. See you later!