Scott on game shows


I've been a game show fan since forever.

In 1999 my mom drove me to St. Louis to try out for the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament. (I failed the very tricky contestant screening test.) I never gave up on the thought that so long as TV game shows were giving money to regular people, one of those regular people should be me.

By 2012 I had almost given up. Years of high school and college scholastic bowl meant I could now pass the Jeopardy! test, but a dozen or so subsequent tryouts for Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Weakest Link and other game shows left me feeling maybe i wasn't game show material. 

The summer of 2012 Millionaire held auditions at the Rivers Casino, and I gave it one last shot. Along with about 10% of the other hopefuls I passed the 30-question multiple choice test, but then I did what I never had before: I passed the interview and was sent to a secretive third part of the audition, answering questions on-camera.

Within a few weeks I received a postcard informing me I had passed the audition and might get to play Millionaire, and a few weeks after that the show called and asked me to come to New York and play less than two weeks later.

Was I nervous? You bet. But I was also confident. After all, years of scholastic bowl meant I was used to answering trivia questions under pressure. And then... well, you can watch the video and see how awkward I was once the cameras started rolling. Know that however painful it is to watch the first couple minutes, it was exponentially more painful living them. Can't complain about the ending, though.


one good turn deserves another.

Hey, I love game shows. I always saw myself as a warrior on the quiz show circuit—Millionaire, Jeopardy!, and the others that pop up from time to time. 

But nowhere do contestants seem to have as much fun as they do on The Price Is Right. With a magic conference in Southern California on the schedule, I decided to take a shot.

I did my homework. I studied the strategy on the games, courtesy of Slate's brilliant study. I learned how to become a contestant, thanks to Deadspin's awesome report. (It turns out contestants aren't chosen randomly but picked by a producer named Stan who interviews 300 people at every taping.)

As soon as I finished my contestant interview, I knew I had nailed it. The two Red Bulls coursing through my veins didn't hurt. Full of energy and ready to win a neeeewwwww caaaaarrrrrr, the taping began—and my name was one of the first four called.


i still can't believe I got to do that.

Oh, and to answer the number one question I get asked—game show winnings are taxed at your marginal income tax rate. Hey, I did okay—I still won a ton in cash and prizes between the two shows.

I sold all my Price is Right prizes except the game table (you can't take cash in lieu of prizes—you accept what you've won or get nothing), and I bought a car and a bedroom set and jewelry for my wife with the money from Millionaire.

Hopefully that's not the end of my game show run. I still audition whenever I'm able, and was even cast on a quiz show imported from England called The Chase... until they cancelled on me the day before I was supposed to fly to LA to tape my appearance.

But no matter what comes next, game shows will soon be tied to my performances. I'm working on a game show themed magic show I'll soon offer in addition to my current slate of shows.

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