Anthony Niblett is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law, and the most recent winner of Jeopardy!. The Varsity talked to the newly crowned trivia champion about the experience of winning the game show.
The Varsity: You won Jeopardy! That’s amazing!
Anthony Niblett: I did! It was filmed in October, so it seems like so long ago, but it aired on Christmas Day.
TV: How do you feel now that the publicity is starting to hit you?
AN: Well, that’s fine. It’s hard keeping a secret. I had to keep it a secret for three months — that was the problem!
TV: Was it a big shock for everyone when the news came out?
AN: Yeah, I think so. It was a shock for me when it happened, I can tell you that much! I don’t know if you’ve seen the clip but my face is one of complete surprise. I wasn’t expecting to win or anything like that, it was a huge shock.
TV: What was Alex Trebek like?
AN: Well, you only get to meet him very, very briefly, but he was very nice and very funny.
TV: Have you been trying to get onto Jeopardy! for a long time?
AN: No, this is the first time. I just tried out — I heard that it was very hard to get on, and that lots of people pass the test but then it’s all random as to who gets on, so I thought I’d just try out and I managed to get on!
TV: What is the process to get on the show?
AN: There’s an online test which you take at the start of the year. They don’t tell you if you pass or how many people pass or anything like that, but I got an email in June inviting me to an in person audition. I went down to Detroit for the audition and took another test, and an interview, and a little practice game. And then I got a call in September asking me to come down to Los Angeles for taping.
TV: How did you feel when you got that call?
AN: Extremely nervous! I couldn’t believe that it was going to happen.
TV: Did you do a lot of studying before the games?
AN: Yeah, I mean I’m not American so I had to learn about America. Obviously I didn’t learn enough, but I tried to learn things I didn’t grow up with like American sports teams, geography etc.
TV: Have you always been a fan of trivia?
AN: Oh yeah, I love playing trivia! I actually host a trivia night as well, but this was my first TV show.
TV: What was the experience of filming the show like?
AN: I tried to be confident but as soon as you hear that music, and you hear your name being called out and the cameras rolling, it was very hard not to be nervous! But then the game started and well, it’s just a little bit different than playing at home, I can assure you.
TV: What question were you most proud of knowing the answer to?
AN: I did study the American Civil War, that was one of the things I had specifically learned, and the question was about a town falling to Union forces on July 4, 1863 and that was Vicksburg, and I was rather proud of getting that. I’d only studied it the day before!
TV: How much did you end up winning overall? What are your plans for the money?
AN: I won $21,601. I haven’t received the money yet, but I’m going to try to take a trip to Iceland after the semester ends.