Among Jeopardy!* contestants, “the call” is what we all wait, yearn, and hope for. It means we’ve been given a life-preserver and a hand up and out of the contestant pool. Since no one knows when or if the call will even come, it makes sense to go on about the business of living ones life. In my case, that meant – following the May 1 audition – a wedding (my daughter’s), surgery/cancer/surgery (mine), and the usual hoopla that surrounds the beginning of fall: school and sports. Any thoughts of appearing on a game show had to be pushed to the back burner. During this same time my mother-in-law became very ill and we began the series of hospital trips, medical consultations, decisions, decisions, and more decisions. In the midst of all this, one early Monday in November, the phone rang.
“Hi Renee. This is Glenn from Jeopardy.”
(Insert very loud screaming and jumping up and down. My husband was afraid Glenn would realize he had made a mistake and hang up right then and there. Thankfully he did not.)
Would I be available to travel to LA and tape a show the week after Thanksgiving? You bet I would!
To answer one of the most-often-occurring questions, no the show does not pay my travel expenses. Every contestant is guaranteed at least $1000 (the third place prize.) Second place finishers get $2000, and winners get their winnings. Either way, it can cover the plane fare and hotel…eventually. We don’t receive any money at all until 120 days after the show airs.
The week before I left, my mother-law-passed away. Towards the end of her life she couldn’t communicate very well, but during one of the last conversations we had, she confirmed “You’re going to be on…Wheel of Fortune?” 🙂 She was always very supportive and excited for me. And very close to the truth – “Wheel” tapes in the same studio as Jeopardy!
*Yes, writing the title with its requisite exclamation point is something I will forever do. I also play along at home and never forget to answer in the form of a question.