SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Melanie Perreault, a faculty member in the History Department, is a contestant on Jeopardy! airing Wednesday, March 1. Locally, it is broadcast on UPN 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Perreault, who is prohibited from revealing the outcome of the game, taped the show in January at Sony Studios in Los Angeles. She auditioned last summer in Philadelphia after applying on-line. Perreault said some 35,000 people a year apply, and potential candidates are selected by lottery.
She took the qualifying test in a room of 120 candidates, where they were asked 50 questions and given only 6 seconds to write down an answer for each. Out of the 120 in her cohort, only four people passed.
At the taping in Sony Studios, “They treated you like a star,” Perreault said, with a professional makeup artist air brushing on her makeup and doing touchups between commercial breaks. Because Jeopardy! shoots five episodes at a time, the contestants are required to bring three outfits.
Perreault at times felt like she was in a “strange dream” actually being on the Jeopardy! set and with host Alex Trebek. “They (the producers) were obsessed with security,” Perreault said. “We couldn’t look or wave to the camera. Staff accompanied us to and from the bathroom.” Nor were they allowed any cell phones, cameras or other electronics.
A regular Jeopardy! watcher her whole life, she knew she would have no say in selecting the categories of topics. “It’s the luck of the draw.” Overall, the trip was “a hoot,” although, she added, “It’s a lot easier answering the questions at home when you’re watching on TV.”
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "