This is Part Two of a chat I had with 4-time Jeopardy! champ and Tournament of Champions quarterfinalist Stephen Weingarten.
Jeanie: After your shows were taped but before they aired, how many people could you tell about the outcome? Are there consequences for blabbing your results to everyone?
Stephen: They are pretty clear that you can tell people who you are very close to you (immediate family, I guess), and also pretty clear that they don’t want you blabbing on Facebook or the like, but beyond that, it’s funny, they don’t really ever specifically tell you what you can’t say, nor do they give you a rundown of consequences you could face. That said, they also don’t send your check until well after your episodes air, so you certainly don’t feel like doing anything that could possibly jeopardize getting your money. Also, it’s fun to keep the secret.
Jeanie: I’m surprised. I even wondered if they had contestants sign something promising not to tell. I read in an article about you that losing on your original shows did not hurt. Can you describe the feeling?
Stephen: Well, I went to bed pretty early the night before, but then woke up at 3 a.m., wide awake, and couldn’t really sleep after that. So I was tired. This was after my first taping day when I had won three times and $79,000. On day 2, I just didn’t feel like I was as locked in as I had been the day before. And you get to know the people you are playing against pretty well, too, and they all want to win as much as you do, which makes you feel a little bad when you beat them, you know? So when I finally lost, though I was of course disappointed not to break the 5-game barrier, I also felt a wave of relief wash over me. I wasn’t nervous, but it is a lot of pressure to be under. It was kind of nice to have that pressure lifted.
Jeanie: Yes. I’ve often wondered how people who lost on their first day feel….They will not get another chance at Jeopardy! greatness. You did win four games rather than the five that would guarantee you a place in the Tournament of Champions. How much time did you have between finding out you’d made it to the Tournament, and the taping of it? Did you do anything to prepare during that time?
Stephen: About a month, and, no, I didn’t really. I SHOULD have, and most of the other contestants there reported studying, but I was pretty busy with taking care of the baby. I did watch the show every day.
Come back tomorrow night to find out what the Tournament of Champions contestants talk about when they’re all together! Speaking of the Tournament, I was sorry to see Buddy Wright lose today, but with a 4-day total of $88,804, he may be in next year’s Tournament. I hope so.