Chicago Sun-Times journalist Kara Spak struck it big on the TV Game Show Jeopardy with winnings after six appearances totaling $85.401. On her sixth day, Spak lost after a meek Daily Double wager, and a few bad responses. Still her final earnings were not bad for a day of taping shows. Spak says she was nervous while taping the programs and never expected to win. She has written a series of articles about her experience for the Sun-Times.
Jeopardy is billed as the #1-rated quiz show in syndication and features trivia question about history, literature, the arts, pop culture, sports and other topics. The show has an unusual answer-and-question format in which contestants are presented with answers, and must phrase their responses in question form.
Watching Spak rapidly fire back replies to difficult questions made her look impressively intelligent while showing off her liberal arts degree in English with its broad base of knowledge. While sharp intellect in front of a vast audience can be impressive, it can also be embarrassing when a contestant fails to answer what seems like an obvious question. Spak couldn’t believe she blew a question on Rudyard Kipling.
Spak is no stranger to the TV camera having previously appeared on Jay Leno’s show and the Oprah Winfrey show. Like most Jeopardy fans, Spak had played along while watching the show at home, trying to blurt out answers before the contestants did. Many people find out that they are not nearly as clever in front of the camera as they are at home, but Spak came through with quick wit and charm.The shows in which Kara Spak appeared were taped in July but are just now being aired.
Alex Trebek is the host of the show, which is usually considered a quiz show with above average questions that appeal to an intelligence audience. The show has been on the air since 1964 and was created by Merv Griffin. It has been ranked among the greatest game shows of all time.