Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Day in the Life of a Jeopardy! Contestant

 

The wait is finally over: this week, yours truly appears on that most revered of game shows, Jeopardy! Fun time kicks off on Thursday! You can read my FAQ here, or about the audition process here, but what I want to talk about right now is what it was actually like to go on the show and let you in on my day as a Jeopardy! Contestant. So, here we go.

I awoke early on Tuesday, March 11 at the Sheraton Four Points, Culver City. It was sometime before 5, and mainly because I couldn’t sleep anymore. The nerves were killing me, you see. After getting cleaned and straightened for the day, I headed down to the hotel lobby with a cup of oatmeal and protein bar in hand in search of coffee. While eating, several other people began hanging around and chatting. They too were conspicuously dressed; too well for normal work but just right for television. It was them. The other contestants had arrived.

Now, there’s no danger of me being picked as the most social guy in any given room, so I approached cautiously, not wanting to exude an air of gamesmanship or intimidation. A brief round of introductions revealed the identities of the various attendees – Ben, (a television producer) Nathan, (a restauranteur) and Morgan (an MD) were all there to compete as well. Soon, a series of black SUVs pulled up and we were whisked off to Sony Pictures Studios in the middle of a driving rainstorm. Yes, it was raining heavily. In Los Angeles.

We pulled up inside the studio and were greeted by a strange sight: A late-model Winnebago… with bullet holes in the door! (Yes, this was Walter White’s rolling meth lab from “Breaking Bad.”) We moved on from that glimpse of television infamy to Studio 11, home of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, where we were greeted by the contestant coordinators, Glenn, Laurie, and Corina. The coordinators ushered us through the doors at Studio 11 and into the contestant’s room, where we went over our accumulated paperwork, set up our clothing choices for taping, and took turns in the makeup chair.

A brief hush fell over the assembled in waves as it was learned that the reigning, two-day champion Jesse turned out to be among us. So much for “no gamesmanship or intimidation.”

Without much delay, we were then taken from the contestant’s room out to the Jeopardy set to play some practice games. As the coordinators moved around the group, you could begin to catch the cadence of Clue Crew Member Jimmy’s voice as he read out clues and ring in. Once you’d done a bit of that, the contestants would rotate and then it was time to record Hometown Howdies (promotional materials for your in-market TV station) and solo publicity photos.

This entire process – arriving, paperwork, makeup, and practice games – consumed about three or more hours, meaning it was now approaching ten o’clock… and we the contestants were all gathered into the audience whereupon Glenn announced who the first two challengers of the day would be: Ben and Megan. The challengers retreated to the contestant’s room to be wired for sound and final makeup, and places were called. The familiar Jeopardy Theme is piped into the studio and they were off, with Champ Jesse at podium 1…

<REDACTED PER NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT>

..

.

So, we all laughed about that ridiculous gaffe at the end and it was on to Game 2 with new Challengers Tiffany and Jackie, who went on to <Aaaagh! Throttled by lawyers…>

Game 3 featured new challengers Nathan and Rachel, and you know the drill: I can’t tell you what happened or Sony will send a juris doctorate after me… but I can tell you that we broke for lunch after game 3 and retreated to the very nice commissary, where we were treated to lunch on Jeopardy’s dime and chatted with the coordinators and remaining challengers.

It was then that Glenn told me I was on deck for the Thursday show, along with Michelle (a voting rights attorney.)

To hear the exciting conclusion of this tale, you’ll have to tune in next time, when we discuss the outcome of the show and what happened afterward!

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Let’s hope you did better than Troy Senik. Hehe . . .

    • #1
    • May 18, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Congratulations!

    • #2
    • May 18, 2020, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Congratulations! When I was in college I briefly dated a girl whose father was something or other in Hollywood; she said she could probably get me on Jeapordy.

    She also took me to one of the strangest parties I’ve ever been to; it was an iftar dinner hosted by a Saudi or Kuwaiti friend of hers (she was a zaftig blonde) at which some of the strongest screwdrivers I’ve ever tasted were consumed.

    Whenever I hear this song it comes to mind:

    • #3
    • May 18, 2020, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Three people enter. One person leaves!

    Or two people leave, I guess. Something like that.

    • #4
    • May 18, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you. This post was so much fun. Looking forward to the next installment. 

    • #5
    • May 18, 2020, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. DHMorgan Coolidge

    Hope you performed well.

    We’ll be watching.

    • #6
    • May 18, 2020, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Troy Senik Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):

    Let’s hope you did better than Troy Senik. Hehe . . .

    Listen … I can still see you people!

    • #7
    • May 18, 2020, at 3:03 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Blondie Thatcher

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Let’s hope you did better than Troy Senik. Hehe . . .

    Listen … I can still see you people!

    Haha! We still love you, Troy. 
    Can’t wait to see how you do, Shawn. Very exciting! 

    • #8
    • May 18, 2020, at 4:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Jules PA Member

    I don’t watch, but please post when it is aired. 

    • #9
    • May 18, 2020, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Contesta&hellip;: Soon, a series of black SUVs pulled up and we were whisked off to Sony Pictures Studios

    Wait, they gave you all a motorcade? And lunch?

    (In 2002 it was a hotel shuttle-esque vehicle and an unappetizing assortment of room-temperature fruit and danishes.)

    • #10
    • May 19, 2020, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    If you win, Rob and Peter expect you to bump up to Reagan level . . .

    • #11
    • May 19, 2020, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seems weird to wish you “good luck” – since it’s already happened. But – Good Luck!

     

    • #12
    • May 19, 2020, at 6:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you win, Rob and Peter expect you to bump up to Reagan level . . .

    Why would I want to come down? 

    • #13
    • May 19, 2020, at 7:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Contesta&hellip;: Soon, a series of black SUVs pulled up and we were whisked off to Sony Pictures Studios

    Wait, they gave you all a motorcade? And lunch?

    (In 2002 it was a hotel shuttle-esque vehicle and an unappetizing assortment of room-temperature fruit and danishes.)

    I’m not sure what craft services did for contestants in the past, but we had the aforementioned selection of danishes, coffee, sodas, chips, candy bars and nuts in the contestant’s room. The commissary was a pretty wicked food court, truth be told.

    • #14
    • May 19, 2020, at 7:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    It can now be revealed (being as the show aired yesterday) that I witnessed Ben defeat the reigning Champion Jesse in a real nail-biter of a game.

    • #15
    • May 19, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Stad Thatcher

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Contesta&hellip; (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you win, Rob and Peter expect you to bump up to Reagan level . . .

    Why would I want to come down?

    Down to Reagan level? You must be at the Long or Robinson level then . . .

    • #16
    • May 19, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Manny Member

    I’m always interested on this. I hope I don’t miss you posts, but I’ll look back when I remember. Thanks Shawn.

    • #17
    • May 19, 2020, at 8:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Contesta&hellip; (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    If you win, Rob and Peter expect you to bump up to Reagan level . . .

    Why would I want to come down?

    Down to Reagan level? You must be at the Long or Robinson level then . . .

    I’m in the contributor clubhouse. We get cake and pie.

    • #18
    • May 19, 2020, at 12:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor

    Ben won again last night, impressively. Many of us in the contestant pool were concerned that we might have to face him.

    • #19
    • May 20, 2020, at 6:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  20. Blondie Thatcher

    Good games, Shawn. You had a run going in the second game. Those double jeopardy questions fell right to the other guy. 

    • #20
    • May 22, 2020, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Good games, Shawn. You had a run going in the second game. Those double jeopardy questions fell right to the other guy.

    What Blondie said.

    • #21
    • May 23, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like