College of Law lecturer takes on "Jeopardy"

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By Kayla Burns

“I always liked the show and thought I might be good at it, as I had lots of relatively useless knowledge running around in my head,” Anderson said. “My father and I always used to watch the show when I lived near him, so I decided that I would audition.”

When Anderson, a College of Law lecturerlb, attended his fourth in-person audition in Chicago for the trivia game show in March, he said he had very low expectations. So when he received the call in August saying he had been selected to compete on the show, a feeling of shock was an understatement.

Anderson’s wife, Jennifer, answered the phone and realized it was a person from the “Jeopardy” show calling, and she had an internal “Oh my gosh” moment.

“I was so thrilled for him,” Jennifer said. “We’ve been together eight years, and during that time and the eight years previous, this has always been his dream.”

And after 16 years of never giving up, it was worth the effort.

“Did I ever think I would be selected to compete? No. Would I have continued to audition? Probably,” Anderson said with a grin.

For the first show, Anderson and his wife Jennifer traveled to Culver City, California where the show is tapedlb. For a contestant’s first appearance, he or she is required to pay for a trip out to Culver City. But after that, the show covers travel costs.

Anderson appeared on four episodes of the show, which aired on Oct. 23, 26, 27 and 28. At the end of his four-game run, he walked away with $72,600 in cash prizes.

In addition to his multiple-show appearance, Anderson was also selected to be an alternate for the Tournament of Champions. Although he did not end up appearing in the tournament, he said it was a blast getting to watch the taping.

Anderson earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkley and has been teaching employee benefit law and legal writing at the University for the past nine yearslb. For his first appearance on the show, he rescheduled classes, and many of his students knew of Anderson’s plans. Although he did not tell them the results of the unaired shows, he said it wasn’t too hard for his students to figure out why class was being rescheduled again.

In addition to the experience, Anderson also walked away with new friends.

“I actually got to sort of see a bunch of them the other night,” Anderson said. “A bunch of us just did a ‘live hangout’ online, and so I got to chat with other contestants who live all over.”

But what is Anderson doing with the prize money?

We have boring plans for it, for a good chunk of it,” Anderson laughed. “We just found out our house needs a new roof. But we’re also planning a trip to Europe in a couple of years and the Jeopardy money will absolutely make that easier.”

In addition to the cash prizes, Anderson said the opportunity itself was remarkable.

“The whole experience was surreal. Being there was incredible and more fun then I could have imagined. The best part was getting to experience the fun twice – taping the show and then actually getting to see people watch it when it aired.”

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