Presbyterian College’s Ryan Real will be seen on millions of screens when home viewers of the daily Jeopardy! game show turn on their televisions Thursday.
Real, the assistant director of sports information, taped the show earlier this year in Culver City, California, at Sony Pictures Studios.
A fan of the show as a child, Real took the Jeopardy! online test last year and got an email to audition in Nashville in May 2013.
“I did that and thought it went okay,” he said of the written test, personality interviews and a practice game against other possible contestants. “But, you’re in the contestant pool for 18 months after that, so I sort of forgot about it.”
Fast forward to January of this year. While on the road with the PC women’s basketball team in Lynchburg, Virginia, Real received a call to tape on Feb. 5. There’s a caveat: collegiate sports enthusiasts know that date is National Signing Day, one of the most important college days and certainly one of the busiest for a sports information director.
“Luckily, I have great bosses in Brian Reese and Simon Whitaker who worked to complete a bunch of that work early and let me go. I appreciate both of them allowing me to fly across the country to be on a game show during a very busy time of year,” Real said.
“It was a great experience. My brother flew out with me—it was our first time in Los Angeles—and we had a great couple of days. I watched a couple of show tapings before mine. So by the time they called my name, I was ready. I thought I played pretty well but honestly only remember bits and pieces. It went by in a blur. Alex Trebec was very nice and we talked about hockey after the game was over,” he recalls.
The Louisville, Kentucky native said he will join several PC athletics friends on Thursday to watch “probably through my fingers as I hadn’t actually considered the ‘watching myself on national television’ part of the whole deal.”
Generating intellectual trivia quickly is nothing new for the 2009 Ohio University graduate who majored in journalism. “I grew up and did the quick recall, academic team and quiz bowl deal in high school,” he said.
Real joined the PC Athletic Staff in March 2011. He is in charge of publicity and media coverage for seven PC sports: soccer, women’s basketball, tennis, lacrosse and baseball. His responsibilities include keeping statistics, writing stories, maintaining the Blue Hose website, working home games, and assists in producing live video for the events.
How did Ryan do in his Jeopardy! debut? Watch the show which airs 7:30 p.m. on area stations WLOS-TV, Greenville-Spartanburg and Anderson areas; and WOLO-TV, Columbia.
According to its website, Jeopardy! averages 25 million viewers each week. You may catch Ryan on TV before Thursday, promoting the broadcast. “There’s a video that should probably be out today where I say ‘Hey Carolina, stay cool and watch me heat it up on Jeopardy!’,” he said.