Tuesday, November 16, 2004


As I reported last week, I attended a taping of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' (its 499th & 500th episodes). My brother Iddiot-in-arms, Brian-El, showed up there earlier in the day to actually audtion to be a contestant. And he sent along this look at what it was like......

Hi all,

For those of you who don't know, I was once again selected to audition for "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" (yes, it's still on in syndication--in most markets, during the day).
I won't bore most of you with the details of the whole trip, but here's the audition story:

This year, virtually all Millionaire contestants are being selected from the studio audience. You don't just sign up to audition--you sign up to audition *and* see two shows being taped. So I got to the building early and began conversing with two guys in line with me, both of whom happened to be from my original neck of the woods (central PA). I ended up being seated in the studio next to one of them, and then we all took the test. (The studio, BTW, is like all TV studios: much smaller than it looks on the tube.) Just like last time, it was 30 multiple-choice questions--but these questions seemed harder to me that the ones I'd had two years ago. I knew I got most of them right, but had no idea if I'd passed or not.

After the test, the non-auditioning part of the audience was ushered in (including my pal Toby, a TV nut from NYC whom I just had to invite), and the taping began. I was surprised to see that it didn't really take much more time than the actual show. I'd expected lots of stops and starts--especially when a new contestant came in, or when a phone-a-friend was called--but that didn't happen. The "Ask The Audience" lifeline lasts longer than it does in the final show, but I suspect that's to give the AOL IM audience more time to answer. (In case you don't know, that's one of the show's new gimmicks.) Meredith Viera (the current host, not Regis) had to do one re-read of a question she stumbled over, but that was it for any delays.

These shows (the second of which was Millionaire's 500th syndicated broadcast) are supposed to be aired in March (I forgot to bring the exact dates--I'll send them later).

Editor's note - March 24th & 25th, 2005!

Anyway, they then announced who'd passed the test. Of the 200 people who took the test, 10 passed, and, yes, I was one of them. Just like last time, my photo was taken and I had a brief interview. However, the interview went much, much better than last time and I have a really good feeling about this. I am in the contestant pool--and I'm supposed to hear something within two weeks. And the guy I'd been talking to was also one of the ten! We got kidded about that by the warmup comedian.

But even if I don't get on the show, it was a lot of fun. I'd never seen a national TV show taped before, and it was cool to be part of "Ask The Audience" (although we did screw up the last contestant). And I had a great time in New York.

Some of you will be getting more details. (Is that a promise or a threat?)

I will let you know when I hear something from the show, so stay tuned...

And stay warm,


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