December 4, 2002

C.U. Students Get Chance at Fame, Fortune

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For most students, high-pressure situations encountered at Cornell include group projects, class presentations, job interviews or prelims. Most cannot imagine having to be under pressure in front of a live studio audience and countless viewers. However, for a select few Cornell students the latter scenario has become a reality when they were picked to participate in television game shows.

Big Winnings

Andrew Hutchings grad, operations research, has appeared on a variety of game shows, including Win Ben Stein’s Money and College Jeopardy where he won $25,000 and a Volvo S70. He makes his most recent appearance today and tomorrow on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Hutchings said that he tried out for the show at a call in Cleveland. “I had been watching it for a while and I thought I could do well at it,” he said. While Hutchings did not do anything particular to prepare for the show, he did keep his trivia skills sharp while in Ithaca.

“I’ve done trivia contests of various sorts for a while now,” he said. These contests include the Cornell Quiz Bowl and contests held at the Chapter House in Ithaca. Because of his previous experience with quiz shows, Hutchings said he felt little pressure on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.According to Hutchings, the best aspect of being on the show was the fun he had doing it. “It’s really fun getting all my friends and family to watch,” he said.

In his undergraduate years at Harvey Mudd College, fellow students gave Hutchings, an avid trivia game show watcher, a nickname because of his skills. “When I was a freshman, I had some upperclassman friends who thought I was a fount of random information,” he said. As a result, Hutchings is now known to friends and colleagues as “RIF”, or “random information freshman.”

The Price is Right

Daniel Levy ’03, also tried his luck on a game show when he and a group of twenty friends attended a taping of The Price is Right last year.

Levy said that he and his friends thought that by going in a large group, one of them would most likely be picked. When he was chosen to be on the show, Levy said, “it was pretty ridiculous running down there.” “I didn’t get the first item,” he said.

However he was later picked when he was the only contestant not to overbid on several air conditioners and a lifetime supply of Anbesol toothache medicine. Levy then played a dice game onstage called “Higher or Lower.” According to Levy, the prize for winning the higher or lower game was a car. While Levy didn’t win, he did get to keep his prizes from the initial bidding round.

“I got the air conditioners and a lifetime supply of anbesol,” he said. Levy was also able to try out for the showcase showdown at the end of the show, but didn’t make it.

“I rolled an 80 in the showcase showdown,” he said, “but someone rolled a 90.” Levy said that the best part of being on the show was “meeting Bob Barker.” Levy did not think he would be on any other game shows in the future.

“I could die a happy man now that I’ve been on *The Price is Right,” he said. While Levy was abroad during the March airing of the show, he did have his family send him a tape so he could watch it. “I’ve since showed it to many of my friends,” he said.

Mike Brody ’04, a recent contestant on The Weakest Link, tried out for the show after reading about a casting call on the Internet. “My buddy was surfing the website and he showed it to me,” he said.

Brody attended a tryout in New York City that involved taking a quiz. “If they like you they called you back and put you on camera,” he said.

After playing a simulated game, Brody was picked to be on the show, taped in November. “I’m still waiting to get a postcard from them telling me when I’m on,” he said.

According to Brody, he didn’t do anything in particular to prepare for the show. “It was suggested to me by everyone [to prepare],” he said. Brody said that the best thing about being on the show (which was a Fraternity and Sorority edition) was the people he met.

“My fellow contestants were also college kids, and I still keep in contact with some of them,” he said. Additionally, Brody said that a positive aspect of the show was that “they flew me out to Los Angeles, which was cool because I’d never been out there.”

According to Brody, it was interesting to see the way the show was put together behind the scenes. “You see that there’s so much going on behind the scenes,” he said. “They tape an hour and a half and they shorten it to twenty-two minutes.”

Brody said that given the chance, he would participate in another game show. “I’ll definitely do it again because they pamper you and you have a chance to win money.”

Archived article by Kate Cooper