Eleven years after Heather Chapman appeared on Jeopardy — and lost in grand fashion — the Lexington writer is giving game shows another try.
Chapman, who loves trivia, isn’t giving away any hints about how the taping turned out, but she did say this: “I can absolutely tell you that I did better than I did on Jeopardy.”
For a while, Chapman was the unfortunate record-holder for lowest Jeopardy score in history. Her final score of -$6,200 has since been beaten, according to the keepers of such statistics.
“I knew that I couldn’t possibly do worse than I did on Jeopardy,’” Chapman said of her decision to go on Millionaire. “It was all gravy.”
Chapman, a former Herald-Leader staffer, wrote about her experience on Jeopardy back in January 2008.
She said having given birth just weeks before she went on the show probably had a lot to do with her ill-fated performance. As the mother of a three-week-old, she wrote that she “felt like the walking dead” and had been averaging three to four hours of sleep at night before the taping.
“Little-known fact: One of the biggest side effects of chronic sleep deprivation is an extremely delayed reaction time. This is not terribly helpful when you live and die by the buzzer,” she wrote.
“On the other hand, all the lightning reflexes in the world don’t matter when the categories are absolutely not your thing. The Vatican Online, weapons, geometry, and second-tier world leaders would all probably be on my short list for Jeopardy! Categories From Hell.”
This time around, Chapman said her biggest fear that she’d have to chat with Millionaire host Chris Harrison about the other shows he hosts, “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” which she doesn’t watch.
“I thought Millionaire could be a fun redemption,” she said. “There’s actually been a pretty high number of people who’ve been on Jeopardy and also went on Millionaire.”
She said she found out about the opportunity to be on the show through a Facebook group for former Jeopardy contestants. She sent in a video and applied online.
“I heard back from them almost immediately,” she said.
To prepare for the taping, she said she watched lots of episodes of the show and got together with her friend Lexington chef Dan Wu, who appeared on an episode of Millionaire that aired in October, for quiz sessions.
Contestants pay for their own hotel and airfare. Chapman traveled to Las Vegas in late July for her taping.
And she said she “had a great time” on the show, though she was “definitely humbled by the breakout game we went to afterward, because I stunk.”
“I just think it’s fun,” Chapman said of the show. “I did the whole thing on a whim. I’m glad I did.”