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Jeopardy! fan from 'Peg on show -- no question

Winnipeg's Amanda Steadman with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. See her on the show Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on NBC.

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Winnipeg's Amanda Steadman with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek. See her on the show Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on NBC.

Who is Amanda Steadman?

Alex, the question is "Which Winnipegger will soon be on Jeopardy!?"

Growing up in the 1960s, Amanda Steadman remembers crowding around the television with her parents to watch Jeopardy! -- their favourite game show.

On Thursday, the family will crowd around to watch Steadman as the 56-year-old Winnipegger will be on the show.

On NBC at 4:30 p.m., Steadman will take her best shot at the game show's prizes and chatting with host Alex Trebek. The show is said to average 25 million viewers a week.

"It was quite exciting to be there, almost surreal in some way, because you're thinking, 'I'm sure I'm dreaming.' This is the show I watched with my parents," said Steadman, who started watching the show when it was originally hosted by Art Fleming (1964-1975 and 1978-79) and continued when Trebek took over in 1984 to the present day.

"I was pleasantly surprised to be selected. I knew I'd be really sorry if I hadn't tried to get on the show. And it happened so quickly for me. One guy there said he'd been trying since 1984."

Thursday's show was taped on Dec. 5, 2012 in Culver City, Calif., so Steadman, bound by a confidentiality agreement, can't say anything about the show beyond that.

At the auditions last September, Steadman heard she had a 1-in-800 chance of being selected in the round of auditions.

How does she think she got selected? Performing well didn't hurt, but she thinks a little friendly Canadian humour helped.

"I joked at the auditions, 'Do you take bribes? I've got a chocolate bar!' It had been a long morning and I had one with me for a snack," she said with a laugh, noting she ate it later because it was a brand that's hard to get in Canada.

"I can say this about the Jeopardy! folks: They are very good at what they do there," she said, noting some staffers she met have worked there for all 29 years of the Trebek era. "Their main goal is to make you look and do as well as possible. It's not like Survivor, where they want you to act like a maniac. Let's be honest: Most of us are more introverted, nerdy kind of people. That's where their core group of contestants comes from. They treat all the contestants well. They want everyone to do as well as they possibly can do."

Steadman's Jeopardy! journey started in January 2012 when she applied to take the official online contestants' test. She was invited to take the test in March 2012 and was told in July she passed it and was selected for an audition.

Last September in Chicago, she was among about 25 people who all wrote another test and competed in a mock game show against each other.

"I think what they were trying to do was make sure you weren't going to freeze on camera.

"On the actual show, they interview you and they don't want Alex talking to someone who's going to faint or whatever," Steadman said, with a chuckle.

It wasn't Steadman's first TV game-show appearance. She appeared on Reach for the Top in 1974 as a Grade 12 Vincent Massey Collegiate student.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

To see Amanda Steadman's "Hometown Howdy" on Jeopardy! go to:

 

www.jeopardy.com/ showguide/thisweek

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