MANCHESTER, NH – Who is Kerry Greene?
Yes, that’s right! In the spirit of America’s beloved game show, where the answer is a question, Kerry Greene is exactly correct, if the question goes something like this:
“Name the Manchester mother of two and volunteer CASA NH guardian ad litem who will make her triumphant return to national TV on Jeopardy Nov. 12 as a contestant in the popular TV show’s “Tournament of Champions.”
Greene, who earned her spot as one of 15 return contestants by winning six Jeopardy matches in a row earlier this year, said she enjoyed reuniting in California with her fellow elite game show alumni.
“It’s a real mix of people these days. The show is trying to appeal to a younger demographic, and so they’re really playing up the new strategies, like aggressive betting on Daily Doubles. It’s exciting to watch,” says Green, who notes that had one of her opponents not bet $12,000 on a Daily Double, and lost, she would not have gone on to win.
“That’s good TV,” she says.
For her six-game streak, Green won just under $150,000, minus California’s “game show” tax. This time around she has the potential to win $250,000 if she wins top prize. Second place winner gets $100,000 and third place winner goes home with $50,000.
Semi-finalists get $10,000 and all quarter-final contestants get a guaranteed $5,000, plus all expenses paid trip to California.
Not a bad deal, says Greene.
“This time they flew us in, and we got something like $800 per diem, plus a stay at a nice hotel. It was very nice, and the sense of camaraderie was great, like staying at geek camp for a few days,” says Greene.
She has been sworn to secrecy about how she made out this time, just like before.
“Last time it was two months between the taping and when the show aired. That was brutal. Everyone wants to know right away how you did, of course. It’s tough not to talk about it. My two kids went out with me, so they’re sworn to secrecy, also,” says Greene.
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On tonight’s broadcast (7:30 p.m. on WBZ Boston Comcast Channel 4) Greene competes against Andrew Harringer, a teacher from British Columbia, and Elliot Yates, an opera producer from New York.
“We call Andrew ‘most charming’ – he’s quite handsome, and just the nicest guy, you almost feel OK if he beats you, he’s that nice. And my other opponent, Elliot – we call him ‘best dressed,’ is quite musical, so you really don’t want classical music to come up as a category with him. Actually, Andrew plays piano on riverboats in Europe during the summer, so music isn’t a category I wanted to compete with them on,” says Greene.
She says she has enjoyed being part of the “Jeopardy Family,” as contestants call themselves, a kinship based on understanding the unique pressures and particulars of qualifying for and participating on the game show.
It’s especially important for the women of Jeopardy, says Greene.
“Once you’re on the show you get all kinds of ridiculous comments about your appearance on various sites and social media,” says Greene. “It’s unbelievable, especially targeting women, comments about how one contestant’s boobs are too far apart, and another’s are too close together – really, that’s not what you’re thinking about when you’re competing.”
While you can usually shrug off the comments, fan site JBoard, recently banned a fanatical follower for continual harassment of women, kind of a big deal in Jeopardy world, says Greene.
“The comments feel menacing, sometimes,” says Greene, who prefers to dwell on the positive perks of joining the Jeopardy family.
Winning five games used to be the benchmark contestants had to hit to be invited back for the tournament round. But the rules have changed, she suspects, to appeal to a younger demographic, allowing those with fewer wins to compete as long as they were compelling contestants who won big, even if it was just three or four games.
She says she had a great time competing in the tournament, and will be watching Thursday night at the Bedford Village Inn Tavern with some friends and family, if anyone wants to join her for a beer.
“The tournament is harder than regular shows because the contestants are a little better versed, and they’ve all succeeded before,” says Greene. “To win I think you have to be smart, but you also have to love trivia and have quick reflexes, so you can hit that buzzer and then retrieve the answers from your head. That was one of the most frustrating parts for me; At 48, I’m old enough to be a mom to some of my fellow contestants, and the answers don’t always come as quickly as you’d like them to.”
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