UPDATE: Michael Lewis returned for a successful turn Jeopardy’s Friday night show, raking in a total of $62,000 of prize money so far.
Michael Lewis — son of Bonney Lake Councilman Donn Lewis — always had a knack for trivia, he said. In fact, his father stated that he won’t even try playing trivial pursuit with him because he is just too good.
In January 2012, Lewis decided to take an online test for the trivia game show, Jeopardy! He performed well on the initial test, so five months later, he was asked to meet with the show producers in Chicago, where he underwent another test. A sample round was played and at that time, his name was entered in a contestant queue.
Just after Christmas, the call came in and he dropped everything to fly out for the show. His fascination with trivia and dedication to knowledge was finally going to result in what he said was the ultimate test.
“It’s a battle of wits. I wanted to see how I would do against some of the best and brightest … I gave it my all and had a great time,” said Lewis.
The show filmed in January and didn’t air until May 23. During the lag between taping and showing, contestants were sworn to secrecy; they weren’t allowed to discuss with anyone whether or not they won.
Despite having preshow jitters, Lewis said it wasn’t as nerve-racking as he expected it to be.
“When the lights go down over the audience, you’re in the zone,” he said. “The board lights up and you forget about everything else.”
Lewis’ 9-year-old son, Alex, appears to have the same knack for trivia as his father. Lewis said his son went with him when the show was taped and when they returned home, he made his own trivia game.
“Thomas the Tank Engine, Lego Ninjagos, Transformers. He used post it notes and would quiz me about their names and all the trains,” said Lewis.
The night before the show, many contestants stayed up late cramming but Lewis said he went to bed early. He said he believed by this time, the answers were either in his head or they weren’t. No amount of last-minute studying could prepare him for the vast amount of knowledge that could be tested.
For others interested in competing, Lewis recommends heeding his advice and striving for a good night’s rest beforehand. Relax and enjoy the experience, he said.
Apparently, his strategy works; Lewis won Thursday night and was scheduled to play again Friday, May 28. The results of his most recent gameshow weren’t available by press time.
“It’s a relief to finally tell people I won! I went straight home and updated my resume to include Jeopardy! champion,” he said.