Seeing Stars: Becoming a Star (for 15 Minutes)

(310) 244-5367 (contestant information) / (800) 482-9840 (tickets)

"Jeopardy!" is the cream of the crop of game shows. To win on this quiz show, you really have to know your stuff. You can't bluff your way here. Only geniuses need apply to this super-trivia game, where contestants supply "questions" to match "answers," such as: "This capital of Nepal was made famous in a song by Bob Seger." (The correct question: "What is Kathmandu?")

Hosted by Alex Trebek, this show is second only to "Wheel of Fortune" in the evening ratings (both shows are produced by Merv Griffin). The show airs locally in L.A. on weeknights at 7 PM, on Channel 7 (of the ABC network).

Heck, just getting to be a contestant on this show is probably more difficult than actually playing the game.

I tried out for "Jeopardy!" myself - twice.

Their test is tough... very tough!  I saw over 100 would-be contestants go in, all of them full of confidence that they were going to ace this test. And I a few minutes later I watched all but five of them stagger out as shocked losers. On my second try, after cramming for months, I finally managed to pass their test (once again, there were only five or six survivors, out of a test group nearly 100), but I still didn't make it onto the show. The producers simply never called me back.

After the test, in the next step in the screening process, contestant coordinators conduct stand-up interviews; the would-be contestants are put through a mock "Jeopardy!" show, using little paper signs in place of the large "Jeopardy!" board.

(Hint: they're looking for people who speak loudly here, and for those who are knowledgeable of all the little "Jeopardy!" phrases: "I'll take History for $100, please, Alex!").

After putting us through all of this, the game show's producer then blithely informed us that it was so late in their taping season that they probably wouldn't need any more contestants that year - and our chances of being called back were slim and none. I know I never heard from them again...

For more information or for an appointment to take the test , phone (310)  244-5367, Mon-Fri: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM, or drop a postcard to:

    Jeopardy Contestants,
    Sony Pictures Studios,
    10202 W. Washington Blvd.,
    Culver City, CA. 90232

and they will send you a letter with the information you need.

You can also find out more on the official Jeopardy! website, at:

The show also occasionally has Celebrity Jeopardy tournaments, when you can see some of your favorite stars, in person, playing for their favorite charity - if you're in the studio audience.


Celebs who have appeared on "Jeopardy!" in the recent years include: Rosie O'Donnell, Jason Alexander, Fred Savage, Dean Cain, David Duchovny, Leslie Nielsen, Kelsey Grammar, Carol Burnett, Stephen King, Regis Philbin, Robert Guilliume, Norman Schwarzkopf, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lynn Redgrave, Donna Mills, Dean Stockwell, Andrew Shue, Cheech Marin, Luke Perry, Ed Asner, Tony Randall,Markie Post, Levar Burton, Cheech Marin, Sinbad, Jeri Ryan and Beverly Sills.

Most years, the Celebrity Jeopardy shows are usually broadcast in April and May.

If you would just like tickets to be part of the studio audience to see "Jeopardy!" being taped, phone (800) 482-9840 or write to Jeopardy Tickets, P.O. Box 3763, Hollywood, CA 90028.

"Jeopardy!" is taped at the historic M-G-M Studios, now known as Sony Pictures Studios, located in Culver City.

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