SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -"I'll take English literature for $500, Alex," might have been the type of category chosen by "Jeopardy!" contestant Matt Anderson, who majored in English and graduated from Wittenberg University in 1991. Instead, when viewers tune in to the game show Tuesday, April 15, Anderson will be shown answering more current pop culture questions like naming the stars of the TV show Felicity and knowing the songs of Christina Aguilera. Locally, the show airs at 7:30 p.m. weeknights on ABC TV 2.
Anderson, of Scranton, Pa., first tried out for "Jeopardy!" in May of 2002 by traveling to New York City for the 50-question test. "I think I might have missed four questions, but they don't tell you," Anderson said. He said about 100 people tried out with him, and the field was then narrowed to seven. At that stage, three people played against each other at a time.
When he realized he had made the final cut, he and another class of 1991 Wittenberg graduate, Bradley Bell, of Troy, Mich., made the trip to Los Angeles for the two-day taping. Anderson said it was a whirlwind adventure as the production staff tapes five shows each day, and would-be contestants have no idea when they might get their chance to go before quiz show host Alex Trebek.
"I was probably more nervous about the wait to be called to the stage then I was when I actually got to play the game that we'll see on tape," Anderson said. "It was a great experience and as a chosen contestant, you know the minimum you'll win will be $1,000, which basically pays for your trip."
Anderson said he also got a "Jeopardy!" computer game and a photo with Trebek as part of the deal.
While on campus at Wittenberg, Anderson served as the WUSO radio news director, played on the golf team and wrote movie reviews for the student newspaper, The Torch. Following graduation he worked as a newspaper reporter in New York. He is currently the golf pro at the Glen Oak Country Club in Scranton, Pa., where he lives with his wife Ann and their four-month-old daughter, Annabell.
Anderson said he remains close with several members of the Wittenberg Alumni Association, and he last visited campus about three years ago when he came back for Homecoming. "I like Wittenberg, and now that I know there is a varsity women's golf program, maybe we'll need to consider it for Annabell someday."
He said he shared something in common with the other two contestants he competed with on the quiz show - they are all 30 year-olds, and they'll each get paid after the show airs on April 15. When asked if he would get paid more than $1,000, he simply said, "You'll have to watch; I'm not allowed to say."
"What is the name of a rule-abiding quiz show contestant who was sworn to secrecy?" Buzz! Alex, the answer is "Who is Matt Anderson?"
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