About the time the Royals were playing the Blue Jays in the postseason, the lights on the “Jeopardy!” set went dark, with contestant and Spring Hill, Kan., resident Liz Fritz, 27, at the middle podium.
Waiting for the the taping to start, Fritz could feel the pressure. She was balancing on a box to help make her appear taller.
“They want all the contestants to be the same height, which was no good for me because I was up against probably the two tallest guys of the day,” she said. “I’m already in 6-inch heels and they put me on this box. I thought I was going to, like, fall off.”
Fritz spoke to us in advance of her episode’s debut on Monday. She’s not allowed to talk about specific outcomes of the show but Fritz recounted the experience leading up to her big moment. “I turned to the guy next to me and I said, ‘Oh my God, Alex Trebek is about to actually walk out onto this stage!’ ”
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Utterly nonplussed, Fritz says the other contestant responded with “Uh, yeah, duh.”
Watching “Jeopardy!” from the comfort of your home on a weekday afternoon, you’re not going to get an accurate sense of scale.
Fritz said the sea of people shown in the live studio audience is actually more comparable to the group waiting for seating at an average Olive Garden. It’s all camera trickery.
“Jeopardy!” episodes are taped in Los Angeles back to back, 30 minutes a piece.
The show is recorded in almost exactly as much time as it takes to watch a full episode. The only gaps in the taping are where the commercial breaks will go.
At the end of the taping, Trebek approaches the contestants and entertains some small talk in the seconds before their stage exit. Fritz says Trebek maintains an aloof manner, and Fritz speculates this is to avoid showing favoritism.
And in person, Fritz says, Trebek is smaller and looks his 75 years. More camera trickery.
Tricks aside, Fritz was thrilled to play her game.
“I know this may sound like the nerdiest thing ever, but I’ve been watching since I was a kid,” Fritz said.
Growing up, she would come home to her grandparents’ house after school and watch “Jeopardy!” with her grandfather.
Fritz earned bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and art from William Jewell College in 2010. She works overnight shifts as an intake coordinator at a foster care agency.