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March 26th, 2003

Game Show Tryouts

By far, one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is appear on a game show.

When I was a kid, it was pretty obvious I liked The Price is Right; I made my own versions of the games out of paper, and entertained my grandmother with them. I was Bob Barker, and there was no Rod Roddy, sadly.

But I started really liking Wheel of Fortune, and everyone around me said, “You should get on that show!” I never really tried, but always wanted to. So you can bet that I’ve signed up to be a contestant on the Wheel site, as well as the site for Jeopardy! – I want to win big bucks and no whammies!

Just thinking about the millions of people who read the Ping… there surely must be at least one person who has tried out for a game show, and either gotten on or been carefully rejected. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 10:30:15 am
My brother tried out for college week on Jeopardy. We lived in Atlanta - tryout was in Memphis. He had no chance of passing the screening test. We roadtripped to Memphis, he failed the test, we went to Graceland, ate BBQ, visited the Coors brewery, and went home. He still has the autographed picture of Alex though.

When we got to the TV station where the tryouts were, there were students thre who had driven from Harvard and (I'm not making this up) were sitting on the lawn desperately reading an encyclopedia. These people had over 100 pounds of hardcover books in front of them.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 10:35:23 am
I want to get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It's a guaranteed $32,000 for anybody with half a brain, and more is possible if the questions fall right, or you have the right friends on standby for phone a friend.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 10:59:23 am
I always used to make visitors play Card Sharks with me when I was little. And, years later, now I own the home game! I would have loved to be on the original Card Sharks.

I'd also like to be on a game show... my uncle was on one in the 1970s (the name of it escapes me) and won $10,000, which was a record for that particular show at the time. I had numerous friends appear on Double Dare or Finders Keepers during my middle school years. No one recently, though...

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 12:44:49 pm
My friend's brother was on Millionaire during its peak, and lost with a $2000 question. He said the pressure is unbelievable to the point where questions like "What number comes after 1" is difficult.

He said the trick to the game isn't necessarily to know the answers (although that's important)... the trick is to be able to tune out the music, lights, audience, and dumbas Regis.

I suppose now it's dumbass WHOEVER is hosting.

FROM: dave
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 2:01:47 pm
Slightly off-topic - I just caught the end of a Game Show Network documentary: "Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal" abou the guy who memorized the money board's patterns. Complete with E! True Hollywood Story - style narrating and the obligatory tragic ending. Weird.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 3:53:18 pm
I didn't know it was considered a "scandal..." From what I remember, the Press Your Luck folks embraced it and actually promoted an hour-long special of the game with that guy... I could be wrong, but...

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 5:16:43 pm
This past summer the Weakest Link syndicated show came to the DC and Baltimore to cast contestants. My friend and I, through George Washington University, got to work with the casting crew to pick contestants. It was very fun to be able to listen tro their introductions and then weed them down to interesting characters, and then have them do test versions of the game. I never have really watched the show to see if any of them have been on yet though.

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 6:42:34 pm
Ahh...I know this Ping is gonna be a long one.

For me, I was fortunate to grow up near Philadelphia when Nickelodeon did their game show tapings at WHYY studios, up till early 1991, when they moved to Orlando. Nickelodeon chose my middle school as one of the ones to draw it's comtestants from. I was picked to be on Double Dare in 1989, and ended up winning the obstacle course being on the red team. It was fantastic. I can still envision every moment, and I still have the T-Shirt here in my room.

From there, I was ineligible to audtion for Nickelodeon again until early 1991, and by then, they had already moved to Universal Studios. Still, the friendships I made durnig my Double Dare show lasted for years. I was invited back to see many more tapings of Double Dare, Finders Keepers, and Think Fast (a very high concept, but not well excecuted game show).

My love for game shows is still rampant. In the summer of 02, the Weakest Link syndicated version came to Richmond, VA for tryouts, so I made the 3+ hour drive from Lynchburg, VA to go. I ended up making the cut, and even getting the call from the show to be in the third season. Unfortunetly, the show was just recently cancelled after two seasons, so that dream to return to game shows will have to wait. However, Jeopardy tryouts are coming to Philly in the next few months, and I'm already signed up. :)

I think my hosting ability for radio and TV Sportscasting would parlay great into a game show hosting career, but I simply havent been able to move my career over in that direction yet. That's something for the future, but I hope it will happen.

FROM: jk
DATE: Wednesday March 26, 2003 -- 11:31:01 pm
I auditioned for MTVs Remote Control when they came to my college campus. I was not picked (I think I did not exude "bubbly college babe" but rather "studious babe") and to this day I know I would have done really well. I would love to be on Rock n Roll Jeopardy!

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 8:16:34 am
jk, I want to be on Rock and Roll Jeopardy too... unfortunately, that show is off the air. Bah.

FROM: Game Show Man Joe [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 1:02:48 pm
Ah, yes. This sounds like the dinner bell for me...

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 1:39:24 pm
This one was a softball for you, huh, Joe? :) Nice rundown of the experience on your page... sounds like a blast...

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 4:31:53 pm
I'm trying out for Jeopardy in May. Even though I'm many steps away from being on the actual show, I have a dilema regarding exactly what interesting/human interest story I would spew to Alex during the "let's meet our contestants" phase of the show. Maybe I'll just make up something totally outrageous. Or I can give a shout-out to my peeps at The Daily Ping:
"So it says here that you blog? Tell us more about that Old Fezziwig."
"Well Alex, blah blah blah"

"Now back to the game..."


FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 4:34:12 pm
damn HTML!

above in the spaces of my 'script' insert:
[polite audience laughter]
[snide/condescending comment by Alex]

FROM: jk
DATE: Thursday March 27, 2003 -- 10:40:54 pm
Paul, I was very impressed by how well the guy from Sugar Ray did on R n R Jeopardy, weren't you?

The guy who won the most recent Tournament of Champions and that big million dollar tournament (on regular Jeopardy) graduated from my high school. He credits his success partly on the amazing quiz bowl teacher from our school who died in 2000 from melanoma. (I cried when he thanked her on the show.) She was only 49....please wear sunscreen.

FROM: Game Show Man Joe [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday March 28, 2003 -- 12:43:40 am
Mark McGrath: the undisputed heavyweight R&RJ! champion. He appeared once in each of the five years of the show...and always won in a massacre of his opponents. I could beat him though. ;D

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Monday April 28, 2003 -- 7:50:54 pm
Hey Joe,

Saw your ep. of "Russian Roulette" on the other day on GSN. You got ripped off. Bah. It looked like a ton of fun though.

The new way of trying to get on a GSN show, with the toll free number, seems to be a lot harder than showing up to the studio. What other methods are there of finding out when the games are auditioning? They havent updated the GSN number in months (Whammy wrapped up season 2 a month or two ago, yet it still says "Now taping through March 1st").

Plus, the odds of getting called back if you are out east seem to be a lot lower. Just curious. I'm still pissed about Weakest Link getting the ax. ;p

FROM: Andrew Schroy
DATE: Saturday July 5, 2003 -- 2:42:27 pm
Slightly OT: I often imagine that I'm on an all-new 2003 revival of Finders Keepers with my friend, Lizzy, and that we're running through the room-to-room romp, with only 15 seconds left going into the 6th and final room, and I also picture me grabbing the last clue card, and Wesley Eure (the host) saying that we got all six prizes, and I'm yelling, strangle-hugging Wes (like the late Randy Amasia [sniff, sniff] did to Tom Kennedy on Whew! in 1979 when he won the $25,000 in the Gauntlet of Villains), and running all over the house screaming like an idiot (kinda like PYL's crazy Gene Snyder, and my partner bursts into happy tears. Has this type of imagination ever happened to you?

FROM: Andrew Schroy
DATE: Saturday July 5, 2003 -- 2:48:47 pm
Game Show Man, I also saw your episode of RR, and I thought you were going to win, but I'm sorry to hear that you dropped through a hole in Round Two. I also am very sorry that Larry Toffler dropped through his hole in the same round as well (BTW, the episode with Toffler is also the episode where one of his opponents hugs Mark L. all the time). Do you think you could host a game show someday, like a $ale of the Century revival? (I'd use a modification of the 2001 Australian set, but with EggCrate displays on the podiums for scores, not Ferranti displays like in Down Under's version). Maybe we can Jim Perry back, eh?

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday February 24, 2004 -- 9:41:56 am
BTW, thought I would mention that I got to go see "Super Millionaire" in New York on Sunday. Very, very cool experience. Haven't written anything in a journal yet, but I did post a few pics of the studio (I snuck the cam inside...sneaky!)..It's in the photo gallery of my website..

It was the ep that aired Monday where the guy won $1M *and* there was a tie in a fastest finger question..really exciting to watch live.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday February 24, 2004 -- 12:50:29 pm
I think that post was just a sneaky way of letting us know that has finally launched.

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday February 24, 2004 -- 2:59:51 pm
Hehe...actually, I just thought it was a cool experience to share, but you gotta admit, it served both purposes. ;)

FROM: Yvonne Scott
DATE: Monday March 22, 2004 -- 10:26:52 pm
I want to do this ,because it seems like it would be a fun thing to do and i like to do acting and things like singing.

FROM: Kelly
DATE: Tuesday June 8, 2004 -- 10:18:11 am
I got an appointment to try out for Jeopardy in Chicago this month. 3.5 hour drive and I probably have absolutely no chance of passing the exam, but it's my dream to be on a game show! I too struggle with the "get to know the contestants" portion of the game, but I'll come up with something. Now I need to try to study... somehow... any tips?

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 8, 2004 -- 2:43:20 pm
Kelly --

My advice would be to brush up on things you might be rusty on, but don't over do it. Nowadays, shows are looking for personality and knowledge combined. Granted, Jeopardy is the toughest test you'll ever take to get on a game show, but if you are tired and worrying about what you know and don't know, you'll never get out alive.

Go in relaxed, do the best you can, and see what happens.

FROM: LPchick1013
DATE: Monday November 8, 2004 -- 3:16:55 am
I always wanted to be rock and roll jeopardy but by the time i was old enough to be a contestant it was already off the air... anyone that knows me agrees i could easily win that game - i know sooo much useless music trivia it's scary!

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Monday November 8, 2004 -- 1:36:58 pm
A friend of mine got onto Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy (can't remember, been too long ago) back in the early '90s. She was the three day champion and $78,000 in cash and prizes which would probably be over $100,000 now with inflation (I think it was a record at the time). I remember she also won a Toyota Camry, dark green, white leather seats and a CD changer way back in '91 or so. It had to be Wheel because she got money and had to spend it on gifts, remember that?

The reason I'm confused is because I remember that Jeopardy came to our campus for college week. She tried out and made the cut but she couldn't be at the studio when they wanted her to be--but she got a call unexpectedly from Wheel, who was interested based on her Jeopardy tryout. They told her to call them if she ever went to L.A. She went to L.A. to visit friends months later, and while there they put her on the show.

I know it was Wheel now because I remember her talking about meeting Vanna and Pat.

FROM: brianna [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday February 9, 2005 -- 5:38:37 pm
chris i am surprised you passaed it you prably cheated haaaaaaaaaaa.

FROM: Tunisia
DATE: Wednesday December 28, 2005 -- 4:34:17 pm
Sorry I missed the RR episode when Larry Toffler lost too. :(

FROM: scott meckley
DATE: Tuesday January 3, 2006 -- 3:47:39 pm
i have watched Game Shows nearly all my life. I grew up wanting to be on the original Card Sharks back with Jim Perry. I wish they would bring back a revival like it or like the Bob Eubanks or Bill Raffety version and I would either like to be a contestant on it or host it. I also love the new game show I seen Deal or No Deal with howie mandell. I am planning to try out for it but have to get a video camera first. Hey maybe I can get my dream and host a daytime version of it if it happens and i do'nt see why it shouldn't. I even have a few game show ideas of my own that I think would be a hit if its done correctly like Millionare and Deal Or No Deal was. I am also wanting to get on Lingo because I love the game and think Chuck Woolery does a great job hosting the game. I wish NBC would bring back gameshows in the daytime like they use to and people would watch them. I would love to see a Concentration revival maybe called Concentration 2000's. I am disappointed when Fox canceled both Greed and It's Your Chance Of A Lifetime although I dont' think Gordon Ellliott was the right pick for It's Your Chance Of A Lifetime. I love the fact that if you got the credit card question correct your credit card was destroyed that was pretty creative. How about NBC does a schedule like this

9:00- Brand New Chain Reaction
9:30- Card Sharks
10:00- Concentration 2000
10:30- Blockbusters
11:00 - Created Game Show Of Mine
11:30- Extreme password
Noon- News
12:30- Another Created Game Show Of Mine

FROM: Becky
DATE: Saturday January 21, 2006 -- 5:40:21 pm
People who know my family, think we are game-show fanatics. I guess we are when you consider how many shows we have been on/tried out for.
It all started when my mom and her sisters and brother were on Family Feud. The show flew them out to L.A. (we live about an hour from NYC) I was only 15 at the time but I got to go with them and watch from the audience. Although they didn't win, I was hooked on gameshows after that!
We tried out for Wheel of Fortune. My mom made it to 2 call backs but didn't get picked. She did, however,b get picked for "Greed" and won 10 grand on that. (I tried out too but didn't make it past the test part)
Then my husband tried out for millionaire back when they had fastest fingers. He was picked and answered every single fastest finger question right but not in time... oh well.
My mom, 2 sisters and 2 brothers tried out for the Amazing Race family and got a call back. They blame my brother that they didn't get one because he told the producers basically that he didn't want to do it.
My mom also met with producers about a "Big Brother" type show. I'm not sure if that was ever made...
Most recently, I sent in a tape for Deal or No Deal. I got a call back. I met with a producer and got a really good feeling. We'll see what happens. I think I should know by next week!!

FROM: Catbirdkirby [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday January 23, 2006 -- 1:20:41 am
How do you get started on the tryout circut? I'd like to try for "Deal or No Deal" but don't know where to start. Is there a web site that lists the shows that are looking for contestants? Thank you for your help.

DATE: Tuesday March 21, 2006 -- 9:23:47 pm
The wheel mobile came through my town (Port Saint Lucie, Florida). I was randomly selected to try out for a mini round of WHEEL OF FORTUNE in our baseball field. It was so cool! I didnt get to meet Pat but we won great prizes and had our info collected and from that group, more people were called to come back for more auditions the following month. I didnt get called back but Im definitely brave enough to try out for game shows in the future!

DATE: Tuesday March 21, 2006 -- 9:30:11 pm
Deal or No Deal requires a short video clip and you must download and complete the application. Funny you should mention that because Im working on my application for the show right as we speak! They'll ask you things like, "what do you plan to do with your money?" Since Im planning to go to grad school next year, Im going to have to say something responsible like, 'I plan to pay for school with my winnings'. But seriously, I plan on filling the spare room with marshmallows and eating my way out of it. Then i'll probably go to Hawaii or something.

FROM: Jeff
DATE: Thursday June 15, 2006 -- 9:18:47 pm
Back in the early 80's, when I lived in Los Angeles, I tried out for $25,000
Pyramid. The first seven times, I got to the point where they told me to wait for the phone call to come down to the studio for taping. To this day, I have no idea why those calls never came! I did quite well in the test runs of the show. The eighth time I tried out, they seated me opposite of some 80 year old lady who was awful and consequently made me look bad. I did get to meet Dick Clark and it was fun to try out though.

FROM: eddie
DATE: Saturday July 1, 2006 -- 11:03:39 pm
I'm on my way to NYC to audition for Chain Reaction. I know the tryouts have been going on for awhile. Has anyone out there tried out yet? Would love to know how it went, or how it is done. Thanks Eddie

DATE: Tuesday July 4, 2006 -- 2:14:05 pm
I tried out for, and was a contestant on, Jeopardy in 1996. There were easily 100 people trying out and only 9 of us got the requisite 80% minimum score. They gave us the hard questions ($800 and $1000 questions back then; $1600/$2000 questions now?) and they displayed them on a big screen for the amount of time they're normally shown on the actual show (8-10 seconds max).

As for the show itself...For me the challenge involved getting the hang of the buzzer. I was in third place entering Double Jeopardy but thankfully I figured out how to use the buzzer and ended up in first place going into Final Jeopardy. Unfortunately I didn't know the answer to the Final Jeopardy question so I ended up in 2nd place. :(

In terms of pressure, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't have a problem being in front of an audience of millions. I just really focused on buzzing in first and getting the answer right.

I hear that Millionaire's having tryouts near me this summer so I'm seriously considering trying out. I recently decided to go back to school full-time so I could use the money. :) My main challenge there will be picking suitable phone-a-friends. I'm definitely going to need somebody who knows pop culture (TV and music) since I'm not really up on it.

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