Tulsan to appear on 'Jeopardy!' Wednesday
BY RITA SHERROW World Television Editor and JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The answer is:
“Childhood battles over Bible clues led to his being placed in ‘Jeopardy!’ before a live studio audience.”
The winning response: “Who is Joshua Brakhage?”
A lot of people are going to know the answer to that question on Wednesday, when Brakhage, an executive producer for KOTV, will be a contestant on the syndicated game show “Jeopardy!”
The show will air 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on KTUL, channel 8.
“It’s a dream fulfilled,” Brakhage said, who remembers “Jeopardy!” as something of a tradition in his family.
“My father would pick me up from school, and we’d watch the show together,” he said. “We would answer the questions aloud, and over time, it became competitive. My father and I would race to see who could answer first.
“He and I each had our strong suits. I knew geography, vocabulary and politics. Dad’s strengths were history, popular music and sports. We both battled over Bible clues.”
Brakhage’s love of trivia meant that he often competed — and usually won — any kind of quiz competition, from the “Bible Bowl” contests at the church the family attended to academic bowls in high school and college.
Brakhage auditioned for “Jeopardy!” twice before being accepted as a contestant.
“You’re only invited to a ‘Jeopardy!’ audition after passing the show’s online exam,” he said. “I was put in the contestant pool after a 2010 audition in Chicago but didn’t get called to be on the show. You have to wait 18 months before auditioning again. I auditioned in Dallas in 2012 and got the call to appear on the show a few months later.”
Brakhage was called to Culver City, Calif., where the show is taped, in October. “They ask that you come for two days, and don’t tell you which day you’ll tape. They record a week’s worth of episodes per day.”
In the days leading up to the taping, Brakhage started boning up on subjects that are perennial “Jeopardy!” topics, such as Shakespeare and U.S. presidents.
“The best preparation I did for the show, though, was watching movies,” he said. “I realized film categories were a weakness after my first audition. So I subscribed to Turner Classic Movies, Sundance Channel, IFC and Netflix. I’ve seen more than 1,000 movies over the past three years. Since many movies are based off books or historical events, it’s boosted my literature and history acumen, as well.”
Brakhage’s job in television also gave him a slightly advantage, as he did not have to get used to the moving cameras, bright lights and other paraphernalia of a TV studio. He and his fellow players were given the chance to familiarize themselves with the game board and the buzzer system they would use to announce they knew the proper question for the answer under consideration.
“Becoming a ‘Jeopardy!’ champion has nothing to do with how smart you are,” Brakhage said. “The secret is figuring out the buzzer system and doing it quickly. You can’t prove that you know the answer if you can’t be the first to ring in. Challengers are always at a disadvantage since the returning champion has the most buzzer experience.”
Just how well Brakhage was able to take advantage of his film studies, his acclimation to the bright lights of TV and his facility with the hand buzzer remains to be seen.
“The most difficult part about appearing on the show is the wait until it airs,” he said. “You’re not allowed to reveal the results of your episode, under threat they’ll withhold any cash prizes. My mother, who was in the audience, has also been forced to keep a tight lip (about what happened) for the past three months.”
Alex Trebek and Joshua Brakhage. Courtesy