Eager for a moment of fame on the game known in America for its high financial stakes, about 85 University students traveled to the Hyatt Regency on U.S. Route 1 yesterday to audition for "Greed."
Contestant scouts for the game show visited the Princeton area to recruit students for a special Ivy League episode of "Greed" later this spring.
Upon arrival at the Hyatt, students were asked to fill out an application and take a qualifying quiz. About one-third passed the quiz and were asked to stay for a second round of one-on-one personal interviews with the show's contestant staff.
The show's judges will return to "Greed" headquarters in Los Angeles to select one to four University students to participate on the show, according to contestant coordinator Michele Meyd. Winners will be notified on April 10 and flown to Hollywood on April 13 to appear as part of the Ivy League Team on "College Greed." The team will have the chance to win $2 million, Meyd said.
Upon arrival at the audition, most students were relaxed and excited to find out whether the $2 million could be theirs. "I'm not nervous. Coming today was such an impulsive thing, but it would be nice to be on the show. I'm just excited about getting so much attention from the press," Adam Nebesar '03 said. "I have wild aspirations of fame, money, power and women. First 'Greed,' then the presidency."
Brian DeLisi '00 said he hoped to win the $2 million to guarantee him future financial security. "I can't believe I'm trying out for 'Greed.' I don't have a job for next year. I don't have any employment prospects and I can't go home. I'd like to win enough money so that I can retire for a while," he said.
Andre Williams '00 said he looked forward to the experience of being on the show. "I'm a game show freak," he confessed. "I want to make lots of money with this, and it would be such a high to be on the show with all the lights and music."
Eli Williams '01 said he viewed the tryouts as a worthwhile experience. "It's fine. I just decided to do this five minutes ago. I was just going off to class but I decided to come here," he said. "The money would be nice, but also this seems like a cool way to spend an afternoon."
The qualifying quiz, which determined students' knowledge of contemporary trivia, narrowed the pool of participants. "The questions cover topics from history to music to films," Meyd said. "The test was untimed, with 24 multiple-choice questions, some multiple answer and some not. The questions on the test were similar to questions on the game show."
Bryan Johnson '01 also attended the auditions. "The quiz was all right, pretty easy," he said. "The questions were about characters on 'The Simpsons,' Beatles albums, contemporary trivia. No historical trivia."
Nebesar said the multiple-choice questions were the most difficult part. "The end of the test got into questions where you had to pick three or four correct answer choices out of a list of answers. That's where it got more difficult," he said.
DeLisi said he felt confident in his advance preparation for the quiz. "The test was pretty easy. I did my homework for the test by watching lots of commercials and TV — commercials are the way to prepare," he said. "This is much better than working on my thesis."After grading the tests, judges announced who would progress to the personal-interview round. "The personal interview is an evaluation of personality," Meyd said. " 'Greed' is a fun game show, and we want people who will have fun with it."
Upon having his name announced as a passing contestant, Andre Williams exclaimed, "Yeah! Phatty!"
DeLisi consoled himself after learning he would not progress to the interview round. "I thought this was going to be my big break," he said.
"Obviously I was wrong, but I have to just be patient and be ready when it happens," DeLisi continued. "My best hope now is for 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' That show is better suited to me because I don't work well with teams. Besides, everyone knows that ABC is a better network than FOX."
Meyd expressed hope that one of the college contestants would be a $2-million winner. "We give lots of money away, but we're hoping a college student will be one who finally goes to $2 million," she said. "They have the mind-set to climb up the 'Greed' ladder. They came with nothing so they're willing to take risks. They only have opportunity to gain."