Thursday, April 26, 2012

I've Got a Secret I've Been Hiding ...

... under my skin.

If you're of a certain age (or just have a love of epic '80s music), you already have a song stuck in your head after reading that. (You're welcome.) If not, take a few minutes and watch as much of this as you can stand:

You can thank me later for that.  The secret I've been hiding, however, is not that my blood is boiling and my brain IBM.*

The secret I've been hiding is that there is more to the story that started in November of 2010, and which I put down here in the blog not that long ago. (Go read that now if you haven't already; I'll wait.)

As I said there, I auditioned for Jeopardy, studied for a while, and gave up when I didn't hear anything, particularly as it passed the time period I'd given for my availability (until September of 2011,, although by their rules I was eligible until May 2012). One day in December, I was sitting on the couch and my cell phone rang. I looked at the number - the area code was 310. I said to myself, "I don't know anyone in LA," and let it go to voicemail. A couple of minutes later the message tone went off. I called voicemail, but before I could even get into the system, our house phone rang. Weird. Morgan answered it, and he said, "Yes ... can I tell her who's calling?" and then his eyes got big and he started mouthing the words, "It's Jeopardy!"

He handed the phone to me and I found myself speaking to Corina, a contestant coordinator. She asked a few questions about the things I'd written on my forms all those moons ago at the audition, and then asked if I'd be able to come and be on the show. You might think I screamed "YES!" into the phone, but I wasn't sure if the dates she was asking about overlapped with a trip Morgan was supposed to take, so I said I'd call her back to confirm. Morgan and I talked it over, and figured out that the dates weren't a problem -- aside from the fact that I'd be spending his birthday in LA while he was in Denver teaching class. Yes, out of all the taping dates they could have chosen, they'd given me January 17 & 18.

Slight digression for anyone who doesn't know this already: Jeopardy is taped two days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday. Five shows are taped each of those days, so when Alex says it's "Monday" on a show, it's actually mid-morning on either Tuesday or Wednesday. When he says  it's "Tuesday," it's really just about 20 minutes since the taping of the Monday show ended. And so on, until you get to the following Monday, when it's really the day after the previous week's shows were taped. Unless, of course, the last 5 shows were Wednesday's shows, in which case the gap for the "weekend" is actually 6 days. Confused?

The bottom line is that they give you a Tuesday and a Wednesday to be in California, and you'll come to the studio beginning Tuesday morning and be there until you are called upon to play in a game, or until Wednesday afternoon, whichever comes first. Well, I mean, they let you go back to your hotel overnight, they don't lock you into the studio or anything! They don't pay for your transportation to Culver City, your hotel (though they do give you a break on a room rate at a hotel), or any other expenses associated with your appearance - those are just the price of the opportunity to go on the show and see if you can win. It's like a race entry fee.

You go, you tape your show or shows, and you go back home and twiddle your thumbs for three months waiting for the air date to get somewhat closer, all the while trying not to give anyone any spoilers about how you did. And then, finally, it's 4 weeks until your appearance on the show and you write a blog about it.

So, cat's out of the bag. If you have any questions about the process/experience in general or my experiences in particular, feel free to ask me here or on Facebook or Google+ or wherever and I'll do my best to answer them in upcoming posts(if I can't answer them till after air date, I'll hang onto them till then).

*Although, it would be a great secret if it turned out my brain really was IBM, since IBM's Watson did so well vs. Ken and Brad, even while giving some wrong answers that were real doozies and would embarrass ordinary humans.


  1. I am, perhaps, unreasonably excited about this! I hope you'll give us air dates when we get closer... I'll have to DVR it if I want any hope of hearing you :)


  2. That's awesome Ursula!!!
    Yes, I'd love to know the air dates, so that I can watch/DVR :-)

  3. Yes, what is your air date? Congratulations!

  4. Oh right, these comments.

    Air date is Thursday, May 24.

    I have a new post coming tomorrow with more Jeopardy stuff.