Serendipity wrote:I appeared on Jeopardy! in 2000. I've applied to WOF twice and always aced the test, but never got even close to being selected for the show. Last time I applied was probably in the 1990's so things may have changed, but at the time everybody who passed the test was herded into a classroom with a cheesy looking wheel, then they zipped around the room having us call out letters. Then they picked a couple of people to put into the pool. The odds of getting on from that pool are really small. And whatever they're looking for, it's not skill at wordplay. At least, not beyond whatever it takes to pass the written test. They're looking for contestants who will appeal to middle America, I think. People you can root for. Whatever it is, I don't have it!
At my go-round, they had 80 of us in the room (no wheel), they put puzzles up on a PowerPoint and they called us out individually to stand up and call a couple letters. Then they gave us a twenty question test to complete in five minutes. After they graded the tests, they kept 24 of us, dividing us into eight groups of three. Then they sent us on our way. I got called a week later, and a couple other people in the room that I kept up with got called within a few months.
My tryout had about 75 people. It had a small Wheel (basically a board game spinner turned vertical) and PowerPoint puzzles. I was surprised that the software was so outdated — it was using categories like Clue and Slogan that they retired several years ago, and On the Menu instead of Food & Drink. The girl next to me was a skinny, not too bright, early-20s who was covered nearly head to toe in tattoos. Behind me was a very charismatic 90-year-old veteran who acted at best, half his age.
It seemed nearly 2/3 of the people there were either a.) very quiet, b.) starting off with something insane like K, c.) calling repeated letters, d.) hesitating too long, e.) overall acting un-excited, or f.) some combination thereof. My puzzle was a Same Name, and I got a T-shirt for explaining the category to the crowd. I called out S, R, E and A, then solved FIRE & SEARCH RESCUE. I could hear favorable comments from the people running the show, noting that I was working quickly, speaking up, etc.
Our written tests only had 16 puzzles: 4 each in 4 categories. I got what was said to be the easier two. Breezed through about 14 puzzles. Nearly got stumped on two (a Before & After, IRONING BOARD OF DIRECTORS — and I wasn't too confident on DATELINE NBC) but got those with 45 seconds to spare. They replayed the 4,000th episode while they graded the tests. Tattoo lady didn't make it. 90-year-old didn't. I did. I literally jumped out of my seat and yelled "YES!" when they announced my name, which got a playful "down, boy!" from one of the workers.
Counting me, there were about 26 left after the tests. Once again, we played mock rounds, only this time with all of us standing up and pretending to spin. I was working on SLOT MACHINE JACKPOT when they Bankrupted me to pass it on to the spunky black lady to my left so she could get a chance. She solved and they told her it was a Prize Puzzle to Vegas, and she gave an excited reaction. Later, I solved FLAVOR OF THE MONTH and jokingly asked one of the workers, "Does that mean I win a trip to Baskin-Robbins?" which got a laugh from her. I don't think that black lady got on, but another similarly spunky black lady from that same tryout did, as did another lady who said her husband was retired from a railroad company. Also, I found out that one of the other potential contestants was originally from Traverse City, only a couple hours from me.
Sorry for going on, but even just trying out was one of the best moments of my life. God's been giving me a lot of signs recently, so I know my day will come.
Really, I'm TenPoundHammer. Same as always.