Allan Hancock College English professor Jim Read recently put his trivia knowledge to the test and will appear on the popular television game show Jeopardy!. Read is contractually bound not to give away the results in advance. His appearance will air on Friday, Jan. 30. Locally, the episode can be seen on the NBC affiliate, KSBY-TV, at 7 p.m.
“I have been a fan of the show since the early 1990s,” said Read, who said Trivial Pursuit was his favorite game in college. “What I love about the show is that it’s less about luck and more about what you actually know than other game shows.”
Read said the process started with a timed 50-question test online. A few months later he received a follow-up phone call and took another 50-question test in Los Angeles with about 20 other applicants. After tests were graded, half of the room was dismissed, while the other half participated in a mock game. After having passed the test twice in the past but not getting called to play, the third time proved to be the charm for Read and he earned a spot on the show. The taping took place at the Sony Studio in Burbank last December.
“Appearing on the show is something I wanted to do for years. Whatever else I accomplish in life, I know that I’m part of a very small minority of people who have been on Jeopardy!”
Read said he studied for weeks to prepare. “I watched the show every night to prepare and plowed through books of history and trivia, particularly in areas in which I was weak, like vice presidents,” said Read.
The long-time Hancock professor said much of the show and clues remained a blur, but he remembered doing well in the category of foreign films. He added the one clue he could not stop thinking about was the final question.
Read said host Alex Trebek was very cordial and exactly like he appeared on television.
“In between tapings we were surprised to find what a great sense of humor he has. He took questions from the audience during every break,” said Read. “We learned that he hates email, rarely turns on his computer, and when asked what he listened to on his iPhone, he replied, ‘What’s an iPhone?’”
Read also appeared on the show Win Ben Stein’s Money back in the 1990s. “I beat the other contestants, but I lost to Stein in the final round.”
Ultimately, Read hopes to inspire his students and colleagues who are fans of the quiz show. “I hope others who have always watched the show will be encouraged to try out for themselves. I’ll be challenging my students to try out for the rest of my teaching career.”