From Summerside to L.A.: A P.E.I. man's journey to Jeopardy

Jonathan Greenan's obsession with Jeopardy started in his grandparents' living room and will culminate when his appearance on the show airs this week.

Jonathan Greenan's Jeopardy appearance to air this Friday

Jonathan Greenan says it was exciting to meet Alex Trebek on the set. (Jeopardy)


  • Jonathan Greenan won Jeopardy on Nov. 3. He lost his second game, which aired Nov. 5.

Jonathan Greenan's obsession with Jeopardy started in his grandparents' living room and will culminate when his appearance on the show airs this week.

"The experience of playing was fulfillment of a bucket list item and really I couldn't have asked for anything more out of it," said Greenan, who grew up in Summerside, P.E.I., and now lives in Charlottetown.

It was a dream that went back many years.

"I can certainly remember it back into my elementary school days," he said.

"I remember being a kid, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house when I was a child and they'd always have it on."

Online testing

Then, as an adult, Greenan began to seriously pursue becoming a contestant on the show. He learned Jeopardy runs online tests every 12 to 18 months for potential contestants. He first started taking those tests a decade ago, along with about 75,000 other people.

In each round, he said, those 75,000 are culled down to 3,000 for interviews and live auditions. Greenan was finally invited to an audition in Toronto last November, and then invited to the show in Los Angeles, where his appearance was taped in August.

"It was fantastic. It was really amazing to see the magic of the show get made," he said.

Once in the studio, he said, staff keep a close eye on contestants to ensure the integrity of the game. For the same reason, upcoming contestants don't get to spend much time with Alex Trebek, because Trebek is one of the few people who knows the answers to the questions.

'A little smaller than I thought'

But they do get an opportunity to get into the studio before taping, see how the buzzers work, and generally get comfortable with the surroundings.

"The room itself was a little smaller than I thought it was. You see it on TV and it's got these big swooping shots. It looks cavernous," said Greenan.

It was fun, he said, to learn little things about the show, like how they make adjustments behind the contestant podiums so everyone is the same height, and to see how crisply it runs after 35 years. The show, he said, is mostly live to tape.

He spent a lot of time with the other contestants.

"You get the chance to meet a lot of people who have the same kind of interests, a dozen or so Jeopardy nuts all of whom are experiencing the dream of a lifetime that day," he said.

Greenan is not allowed to talk about the results or whether he will be featured in more than one episode.

That episode is scheduled to air Friday night, however on some channels it will be pre-empted by football, meaning it won't air until Saturday morning.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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