Niagara Gazette — For the first time more than seven years, Niagara Falls had an opportunity to say "This Is Jeopardy!" Just like the popular game show's tag line.
Contestant searches were held inside the Sheraton at the Falls Thursday as the wildly popular show prepares to produce its 30th season. Senior Contestant Coordinator Glenn Kagan said the show's well-rounded cast doesn't just come out of nowhere.
"First, would-be contestants need to pass our online test," Kagan said. "Then, from those, their names are randomly selected to go on to the next round. From there, we look for people who are knowledgeable but also have a personality, people who are excited and having fun on our show. We're looking for the type of person the home viewers can cheer for and they have to be having fun themselves for that to happen."
Niagara Falls made the list of cities the show recruited in this year, one of roughly 13 the casting crew visits. Kagan said the crew usually sticks to much larger metropolitan areas – he said his next stop is Manhattan – en route to recruiting about 400 successful contestants.
Jeopardy is one of the only game shows on television which offers contestant searches outside of the primary production location, which Kagan said allows the show to recruit more people to participate. It keeps travel to a minimum on the part of the candidates and forces its recruiters to live a partial life on the road.
"It's so the people don't have to go to Los Angeles, we go to them," he said. "And we even travel overseas with the USO, try to get service people involved. (Host) Alex (Trebeck) goes with us and we try to have as much fun as possible."
One way the group of recruiters gets to enjoy the audition process is having a little fun with the people who wander in through the doors, wherever they are. They joke around with the participants, get them to come out of their shells and pay close attention to the answers they give.