It's often billed as 'America's favorite TV quiz show.' "Jeopardy" a half-hour knowledge game, usually recorded in Hollywood, California came to Washington D.C. recently with 15 children chosen as contestants. The show is part of Jeopardy's "Kids Week" special.
An audience of about 4000 people filled D.C's Constitution Hall to see in person the show they all love to watch on TV. First, someone with a recognizable voice started talking into a microphone on the wide, floodlit stage. "I want to welcome you to our show, and I can do that because I'm the announcer on this program," he said. "My name is Johnny Gilbert. Welcome to Jeopardy, ladies and gentlemen We are delighted to have you with us, all of you. What a day!"
Fifteen children, between the ages of 10 and 12,were waiting backstage for the game to begin. 11 year old Robin Lee Kuttner is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Baroch: "What's going through your mind right now."
Kuttner: "Well, I'm kind of nervous."
Baroch: "What have you done to prepare for the show?"
Kuttner: "'I've read the 'Kids Almanac'. It's like an adult almanac except it's shortened and has different information in it."
Jeopardy TV contestants who are competing for lucrative cash prizes need to know a lot of information on history, geography, astronomy, and English grammar. While younger players are not expected to know as much as older contestants, little Robin Lee Kuttner appeared to have prepared herself for adult level competition. I asked her to pretend she was Alex Trebek and I was a contestant.
"'This' is the capital province of Canada."
Baroch: "Ottawa, Toronto..?"
"Ontario. It's the province."
Soon it was time for the show, three kids competing against each other. Then, there'd be a break for about an hour, and three more would walk on stage for a brand new episode. And on and on, until there were five shows taped in all. They'll be broadcast early next month in a week of programs and of course, start off with the familiar opening.
"Thank you, ladies and gentleman."
Alex Trebek took his place behind a podium. The three children stood behind their little podiums for the 20-minute quiz. 11-year-old Holly Flynn, who appeared to lose her composure at the start, at the end was one of the winners. She recalled her immediate reaction to the pressure, "I was really nervous. I was overwhelmed."
Alex Trebek noticed. "She started to cry and that brought tears to my eyes also because she started off so slowly," he said. "She was in the red. I was worried about here, thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I don't want her to be embarrassed.' All of a sudden, she caught fire and did extremely well. You could see the parents and grandparents in the audience and they had tears in their eyes."
Here's Holly's family...
Baroch: "What about you sir, what did you think of the show?
"Wonderful. My granddaughter won it."
"My sister won!
Baroch: "Congratulations, what's your name?"
Baroch: "What did she do to prepare?"
"Uh, I don't know."
Baroch: "Are you the mom?"
"I'm the mom."
Baroch: "What were you thinking in the audience?"
"'Just answer one question right.' That's what I was thinking. I was a nervous wreck."
Holly Flynn says she's spending the $25,000 prize on clothes, but her mother had the final word. Most of that cash is going into savings to help pay for her college education.