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Wall Resident To Compete On Jeopardy! Tonight

Longtime television quiz show to feature Wall resident Craig Chern

The answer: He’s the latest Wall Township resident to appear on a national television show.

The question, of course, is: Who is Howell High School Assistant Principal Craig Chern?

Chern, 41, of Tennis Court, is scheduled to appear Wednesday, competing for cash and prizes on longtime quiz show Jeopardy!

Chern, a years-long Jeopardy! fan whose appearance on the show was recorded in August, said in an interview Tuesday that the whole experience was surreal.

“It’s insane,’’ he said. “It’s something you dream about and then you’re right there on the set, which is a lot smaller than you would expect it to be. It’s crazy.’’

Chern in February completed an online quiz on the Jeopardy! website to be a contestant. A few thousand people were chosen from the results of that, he said, and those people spent a day in New York where other quizzes and tests were taken, winnowing the hopefuls down to about 400, Chern said.

Those several hundred were then put into a lottery and with a little luck, Chern was called up and spent some time in Los Angeles.

Chern — who said in his years of at-home play, he normally gets about 80 percent of the questions correct — is barred from talking about the results of the show before it airs at 7 p.m. on ABC. But he said the real Jeopardy! was much different from playing at home.

“At home you can respond as soon as you know the answer,’’ Chern said. “When you’re there’s a lot of waiting and timing when to buzz in. It’s hard to get used to that.’’

The speed of the show also threw him off a little.

“The time it takes when its on TV is just about the way it is on the set,’’ Chern said. “There are no real breaks. It moves fast.’’

Chern also had kind words for longtime host Alex Trebek.

“He’s a real nice guy,’’ Chern said. “And very funny. But a very dry sense of humor.’’

Jeopardy! airs tonight on WABC-TV at 7 p.m.

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jerseyswamps October 11, 2012 at 08:45 AM
He didn't win. it must have been the altitude; the other two just lied their way thru; Alex was biased; he was worried about his students; he didn't want to be rude by being a show off; .... Seriously, he was good. The only one to get "final jeopardy".
NBew Jersey Art October 15, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The game is very different on TV than playing at home. Watching at home for decades, I trained myself to wait until Alex finished the question before answering in my mind. When I finally became a contestant in 1995, I was able to wait. Some of my opponents fell into the trap of trying to ring in too soon and were locked out. The downside however is that the time to ring in before someone else does is very, very small, no more than 3/4 of a second, and you have to time it just right. Once you're won once, it does get easier. They do five shows a day. Then again the downside is that you can get tired. I started with the 2nd show of the day and won that one as well as the 3rd and 4th but lost the 5th. I would have loved to have one that one since I’m sure I would have had enough money to come back for the Tournament of Champions even if I then lost the 1st game the next day. In 1995, you could only win 5 days in a row. After the 5 time champions, who were automatic selection, the top money winners filled out the tournament regardless of how many games they had won. I'm pretty certain that my total through 4 games would have been enough.
NBew Jersey Art October 15, 2012 at 08:16 PM
One final thought, the process is basically the same as the one Craig described except that there was no online testing. You went to Resorts in AC since Merv Griffin owned Resorts and had created Jeopardy. If you passed the first day (10 really hard questions) you went back for a 40 question quiz. If you passed that you then played a pretend game. From the 400 people who made that cut, they selected whomever they wanted, not based on a lottery, but based on your performance in the pretend game. Having the correct questions was not really important. What was important was your personality, energy and enthusiasm and whether you had an interesting occupation or something else that they thought the TV audience would be interested in hearing. All in all, it was a great experience.

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