How To Get On A Game Show
By Cory Anotado
From a very, very young age, I’ve always dreamed of getting on a game show. I was lucky enough to have my dream fulfilled in 1998 when I made it on Jep!, a kid’s version of Jeopardy! hosted by Bob Bergen, the voice of Porky Pig. (Fun fact, he was also the voice that introduced my final college portfolio presentation, because he’s amazing.)
If you’ve watched the episode, you’ll notice two things. One, I’m freaking adorable and I wonder what happened. Two, I was ill-prepared for wagering strategy and that’s why I lost. (That, and we were learning the state capitals in school while I was taping the show. The irony is palpable.) So naturally, with my dream partially realized, I kept the drive to get on another game show alive.
I got on Wheel of Fortune during my Senior Year in high school. I didn’t win (again) but at least I moved up from third to second place. Wheel of Fortune was a bigger show, I won more money, I felt great about my performance (and still vehemently object to Prize Puzzles adding to the total of a player) but was still disappointed that I didn’t get the big win. The dream remained alive.
I fast forward to after college. Armed with a wider array of knowledge, years of finger-flexing reaction-training video games and enough Trivial Pursuit cards to build a small bungalow in the wilderness, I applied for GSN’s import of one of my favorite UK game shows, The Chase. My personality and knowledge got me a call back, and my amazing team of trivia masters and mavens brought home one of the biggest pay days in Game Show Network’s history.
I could sit here and write a $4 book about all my tips and tricks for game show auditions, but that would be disingenuous. Here’s priceless advice for your next game show audition: Dress well, be friendly, be interesting and do everything the casting directors tell you to do. I’m a singular voice who’s had a linear experience that has crescendoed nicely into the record books and a modicum of respect from the 82 people who watched the show. Instead, I scoured the globe (and my address book) to talk to men and women who have been on every side of the podium.
The collective knowledge of their experiences is more valuable than any advice I as one person could give. My experience getting on Fisher Price Jeopardy! isn’t as ideal as, say, 2014 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Ben Ingram. I may have been a Plus One on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but my audition process was “who’s available to go to Connecticut on Friday” and that’s a pretty low barrier of entry. So I talked to Josh Eldridge, the Tennesseean who invited me to share in his bank-breaking day on the show. I’ve never casted a game show, so I don’t know what casting directors are looking for. That’s why I spoke with Beverly Pomerantz, one of the most prolific game show casting directors ever.
I want to bind up the collective wisdom of everyone who’s been through an audition process to help you if and when you decide to go through the audition process—and trust me, you should. I feel like Matthew Lesko in his stupid question mark suit telling you that there’s free money in them thar Hollywood Hills, and the only way you’re going to get a chance to get any is if you take that first step and sign up.
So for you, game show fan and potentially future game show contestant, I craft you this guide with the words of people who know this process expertly, and I give this to you. And as I continue the conversation with even more notable names, friendly faces and champion-types, I will add to this page with more information. I have made and will continue to make sure to have a diverse listing of people in this document so no matter what you intend on trying out for, whether it’s a long-standing classic like Jeopardy! or something new that no one’s ever seen, you’ll have a leg up on everyone else in the room.
If you’d like to share your story with us, or if you want to keep abreast of new updates, make sure to follow our Facebook page for more information. Now, on with the show. First, I talked to a man who hasn’t just been on 5 game shows, but 19 different shows.