Last Thursday, the UR College Bowl team had the opportunity to be filmed for the new format of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
Sophomore Bill Finan, sophomore Ben Seitelman, junior Laura Nemeth and senior Eric Keihl served as members of the new lifeline that was added to the show called ‘ask the expert,” which is provided for contestants after they reach the $1,000 mark.
The College Bowl team at the University participates in a trivia competition that works similarly to Jeopardy, where team members can buzz in and answer questions.
The members of the College Bowl team were asked to be ‘experts” in July, but actual filming for the show took place in September because not all of the students involved in this event were in Rochester.
‘No one was around the office to share this with so I immediately e-mailed Anne-Marie Algier, director of Wilson Commons student activities and communications. I needed to find out if this was feasible,” Assistant Director of Student Activities and College Bowl Adviser Stacey Fisher said.
All of the College Bowl players are Thelion Society members, so they are very familiar with academic and pop-culture trivia. Some of the players were also involved in Quiz Bowl in their high schools.
The air date for this episode is most likely to be in January, and the Wilson Commons Student Activities hopes to plan an event around this occasion at the Hive.
Becky Greene ’08, now a graduate student in Boston, was the only missing player.
To train for the show, there was a test screening about a month before filming and a test call the day of the taping.
‘I decided to do “Millionaire’ because I got to be on TV and also I thought it would probably be fun and an opportunity for UR publicity,” Nemeth said.
The members of the College Bowl team agree that participating in this show as ‘experts” was a very exciting experience.
However, the rest of the team tested the equipment at the beginning of the month and taped the appearances of the show last Thursday.
‘Ask the expert” works very similarly to ‘phone a friend.” For ‘ask the expert,” the contestant can ask a question to the expert. Then the contestant waits for a reply and decides if he or she would like to continue with the expert’s answer.
The call is made over Skype, a type of video phone. In the new format of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” contestants must answer each question in under 30 seconds, as opposed to the unlimited time contestants received in the show’s previous format.
Also, a new lifeline called ‘double dip” was added where the contestant is given two shots to answer the question.
After the contestant hits the $1,000 mark, they are free to ask a single question of their choice to the experts.
‘It was very exciting to be considered “experts’ on “Millionaire,’ but it seemed like it was almost more pressure than being an actual contestant because someone is relying on you to help out with a difficult question,” Nemeth said.
‘It was a little nervewracking to be a lifeline but it was a fun and pretty cool experience to tell people about,” Seitelman said.
The UR College Bowl team participated in a total of five tapings for five different shows and correctly answered all seven questions that they were asked, which subsequently helped the contestants win a total of over $150,000.
The team’s members had been specifically requested to join the show because of UR’s College Bowl team’s victory at the National College Bowl championship in April of 2008.
The team defeated 15 other schools at the national competition, achieving a significant comeback after a slower start.
With a few members graduating the team taped on Thursday did not exactly resemble the team from last spring’s competition. The team’s former captain, Rebekah Greene, graduated in 2008.
Hasan is a member of the class of 2012.