Tampa, Florida -- "Who are..." some of the luckiest, most nervous people in Tampa Bay? The 200-or-so trying out for Jeopardy!
I'll take you through the fun but intense audition process to make it onto America's favorite quiz show.
The show is here holding a round of invitation-only auditions. They're all wannabe contestants who passed an online test to get this far.
Laurie Bates-Weir is -- asJeopardy!announcer Johnny Gilbert would boom -- "A librarian from Sarasota, Florida!"
She came to a Tampa hotel conference room Tuesday, hoping to make it all the way to L.A. and meet Gilbert and host Alex Trebek. But she stayed honest about her chances.
Nationwide, just 400 people a year are picked to go on Jeopardy!.
"I'm a little bit nervous, but also excited. I think it's going to be a fun experience, no matter what happens,"
In front of a few encouraging producers, hopefuls did a taped interview, played a short segment of the game, and --of course --took another test.
They let me do it all, too, even though my job at 10 News makes me not eligible to get picked for the show.
The test was not easy.It had a bunch of those questions you swear you know -- but you just can't -- argh! Think of the answers!
The game show part felt fun -- 'cause, hey, it's like I'm on the show! I used the real clicker to buzz in and call out categories when I got a question right. Saying, "Astronomy for $400" was actually a little thrilling.
But clicking and thinking and reading and listening really gets muddled in your mind.
For example, I got a clue right with the answer, "Monterrey Jack Russell Terrier," butI missed one where the right answer was "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers."Sigh.
Jimmy McGuire from the Jeopardy! Clue Crew says, surprisingly, most folks kind ofchill out once they're picked for the real show in L.A.
"By the time the contestants make it to the studio, they've been through so much, that I think it's really adrenaline," said McGuire, who has traveled the world for twelve years taping clues for the show.
"They're having fun, they're winning money. And they're looking pretty smart while they're doing it. Can't beat that."
Laurie will get called to the big show sometime in the next 18 months if she passed all the tests.
"You know, you see the show on TV and you think, 'Oh, I would buzz in on that one!'"she said.
"You don't realize when you've got that device in your hand, how hard it is. It was fun, though -- I had a good time,"
As for me?
They can't reveal my score, but the producers said -- I can't believe this -- I made it.
If I were allowed to be on the show, they'd have taken me. Let's go for -- a total surprise -- for $1,000.
You can sign up for an email alert to find out when you can audition for the show here at the Jeopardy! newsletter website.
You can find out more about trying out for the show hereat the Jeopardy! contestant search website.
And remember you can watch Jeopardy! weeknights at 7:30 on 10 News.