So, You Want to Be a TV Game Show Contestant?

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Introduction

The draw to be on a game show may be growing throughout the world, as the reality TV shows increase in scope and profit. The chance to change one’s life, and to experience the thrill of momentary fame many draw many to the game board, and the question is what type of show is best for you. Game shows are always looking for new talent, or fodder for ratings, and some are harder or more dangerous than others. So, you want to be a TV game show contestant, well let's search out your options.

The Game Show Appeal

Those who enjoy watching and playing along with game shows at home may harbor a secret (or not so secret) desire to be on a game show. Perhaps, “You've probably done this yourself: you watch a game show, notice where the contestants make mistakes, and then say to yourself, ‘I could do a much better job than that on this show’” (Grosvenor). Perhaps that is true, if so why not give this dream a shot. If anything, it could be a whole lot of fun, or the lucky few may find the experience to change their lives. After all, here are just a few reasons to try to be on a game show:

To win, WIN, WIN! Cash and prizes.

To improve your life or the life of loved ones with the winnings.

To have a bunch of FUN!

To seize your 15 minutes of promised fame.

To have new experiences. 

To test your skills and capacities.

To meet celebrities, and people you admire. 

How to Get on a Game Show

While there are a lot of new and crazy game shows popping up around the world, the tried and true traditions of game shows may be a good place to start. One of the most consistently popular game shows, Jeopardy! is simple to audition for. Firstly, take the online test. Tests are only held on certain dates and upcoming tests are announced on the show and on their website, Jeopardy.com… If you perform well on the online test (Jeopardy won’t tell you your score), you will be asked to audition at a local testing facility. After more testing and a personality interview with producers, you will be added to the pool of available contestants. (Taylor). Jeopardy! is a game for intelligent people who have very strong memories. An oldie and Goldie, Wheel of Fortune is a great choice for those who are fans of the show, and do not mind the vicissitudes of chance. However, unsurprisingly you will not be alone in this desire;

Last year, over a million people requested the chance to audition for Wheel of Fortune and fewer than 600 people were selected to appear on the show. The first step to auditioning is to register on the Wheel’s website. They will notify you when the “Wheelmobile,” the traveling audition bus, is in your area. (Taylor)

Much like the randomness of the show, the “Wheelmobile” chooses participants at random, and the process of the first audition is also a game. During the “Wheelmobile” challenge, individuals are called “in groups of five to participate in a brief interview, play a version of the Wheel of Fortune speed-up round and win special show-themed prizes. The most promising candidates are invited back to participate in final auditions for the show” (Taylor). No matter if you get on the final show or not, this sounds like a HOOT!

Representing the newer school of game shows, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire auditions are held in New York City and Rhode Island. Registry for the audition is online, and “To become a Millionaire contestant you must first pass the written test and if you pass the test, you will then need to undergo a personal interview with a representative of the show” (Taylor). If you do not live in the New York region you will have to spend a bit to have a chance at this, and if you do live in the region you are already a little rich so why be so greedy? Have fun staking your intelligence on the questions of the fantastically rich.

One of the most enduring and enthusiastic games shows of all time, The Price is Right is still going strong after the changeover of their host Bob Barker for Drew Carey. In a unique and unassuming ritual, “Contestants are usually chosen from among the ticket holders at each taping held in Los Angeles, California” (Taylor). Most likely many who live in or around Los Angles have participated in the rite over the years. For those outside the region;

You can also audition at one of traveling audition stops held each year. The producers select two contestants from each traveling audition to appear on the show and as an extra bonus, the producers will fly you to California for free! (Taylor). Basically, any game show you may be interested in becoming a contestant on simply go to their website and check out the requirements. 

Helpful Hints 

To have a chance of getting on a game show there is one thing that is essential: Watch the show! If you do not watch the show you will not know the rules of the culture, and the chance of getting on is virtually nil. It is common sense, 

Producers don't have the time to teach would-be contestants the rules or how to play the game. They expect you to be prepared and ready to play when you walk through their door, and they will test you to find out if you know what you're doing. If you don't, you'll be quickly rejected. (Seeing Stars)

Those who really want to get on the show must emulate the character of the show. For instance, there is no way you will get on The Price Is Right, if you do not smile and jump up and down, and wave your arms. In this case it also helps to wear very bright clothing or a costume to stand out in the raging California crowd. In the case of The Price Is Right, and many other shows filmed in LA, “Game show producers love out-of-towners. Most of their contestants come from L.A., and the producers realize that these Los Angeles residents can always come back at some later date to be on the show - so they tend to take locals for granted” (Seeing Stars). Make the most of this and emphasize you are from out of state. 

Also, it is helpful to practice and prepare for the game. After all, you will be auditioning for a TV show, not National Public Radio, and all actors prepare for their auditions. Producers choose people who will make their show look good and be fun to watch, so look the part when you audition. Prepare, and remember;

Sure, you might be able to ace your favorite game show when you're sitting in your easy chair, in front of your TV set in the comfort of your own home. But when you're standing in front of a live studio audience, under bright, hot lights, with a camera pointed in your face, and 10 million people watching your every move, the adrenaline starts flowing, and it's a whole other story. (Seeing Stars)

Therefore, if you have a chance (or experience) speaking in front of an audience this will help you prepare for the pressures of the stage (Casting Call Hub). Also, super important is to understand the rules of the game show you want to be on. The rules are there, read them and “Study these rules, and stick to them. Otherwise, you could forfeit your winnings. (For instance, you have to be at least 18 years of age to appear on any game show)” (Seeing Stars). This is a first thing on the to do list after deciding which show you want to be on (Walczak).

Reality Check

While the desire to be on a game show may be building, may be strong, may be OUT OF CONTROL, it is important to keep your expectations in check. No matter how much you or anyone else wants to be on a show, and no matter how many shoes are out there, there are far more people who want it than there are spot to play. Rationally, 

Out of 1,000 people who would like to appear on a game show, perhaps only 100 will get up the nerve to actually come in for the test and interview. Out of those 100 wannabes, fewer than ten will get past the initial tests & screening process, and perhaps only one or two will survive the interview process and be called back later. (Seeing Stars)

Even when going down to the wire with everything you have and nearly making the cut there is no guarantees. At the last minute, “And even then, they may not actually make it onto the show: they sometimes call you in as only a ‘back-up’ contestant, in case some other contestant gets sick and can't go on” (Seeing Stars). However, this is changing all the time as reality TV hypes up, more channels feature game shows, and demand grows. So this reality check should not squelch your dream (Super Lucky). However, here are a few warnings for those who make it through all the steps:

You'll pay taxes on those winnings. Lots of taxes.

Like lottery winners, game show contestants who come home with a cash or prize windfall can end up worse off than before.

Taping the show makes jury duty look tame.

The prize values are inflated.

You could be a target for Internet harassment. 

Fast reflexes trump a high IQ.

Even if you win, you might go home empty-handed. (Grant)

It is good to do a large amount of research on the game show of your choice, and if possible to find others who have done the show to see if they enjoyed it, thought it was worth the investment. 

Conclusion

So, do you still want to be a TV game show contestant? It could be fun, or it could be un-fun, so much depends on your attitude, and always on luck. Bottom line, if you have a dream go for it no matter what, and do not let the haters get to you. The fun in in the journey and after all, life is a lot like a game show.

Works Cited

Casting Call Hub. “Game show auditions in 2016.” Castingcallhub.com, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.castingcallhub.com/tryout/game-show/

Grant, Kelli, B. “10 Things Game Shows Won't Tell You.” Market Watch, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-game-shows-wont-tell-you-1295044732458

Grosvenor, Carrie. “Top Reasons to Be a Game Show Contestant.” About Entertainment, 30 Nov. 2015. Retrieved from: http://gameshows.about.com/od/beacontestant/a/gameshow_contestant_reasons.htm

Seeing Stars. “Tips for would-be Game Show Contestants.” Seeing-stars.com, 2016. Retrieved from: http://www.seeing-stars.com/ShowBiz/Tips.shtml

Super Lucky. “Top Tips: Get on a TV Game Show.” Superlucky.me, 2016. Retrieved from: http://superlucky.me/2014/03/top-tips-get-on-a-tv-game-show/

Taylor, Kyle. “How to Get On a Gameshow (18 Shows Looking for Contestants).” The Penny Hoarder, 21 Oct. 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/how-to-be-on-a-gameshow-18-shows-looking-for-contestants/

Walczak, Lynnette. “Little-Known Facts About TV Game Shows + Winning Tips From Game Show Contestants.” Games, 2016. Retrieved from: https://games.thefuntimesguide.com/2012/05/game-show-contestant.php