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Farragut resident’s mettle tested on upcoming ‘Jeopardy’ show

One Farragut college senior saw the dream of a lifetime fulfilled when he appeared on College Jeopardy, set to air in early February.

Greer Mackebee, a 2008 Webb graduate and Farragut resident, competed in the fourth of five quarterfinals on College Jeopardy, which begins airing Feb. 1 on WBIR TV.

“It’s kind of always been this far-off dream to one day be on Jeopardy, but it wasn’t something I had really actively pursued before. But I saw the advertisement for the online test and thought it looked like fun,” Greer said.

Greer said he and his parents, Bill Jr. and Betty, “always watched” Jeopardy during his growing-up years.

“The Jeopardy audition process starts with an online test. The college test is every January: you log on and take a pretty rapid-fire test. If you meet a certain threshold on the test, you are randomly selected for an in-person audition,” Greer said.

He originally auditioned in January 2010 and qualified for an in-person interview, but because of a previously scheduled trip, couldn’t attend that year’s taping.

Last year, Greer decided to give the process another go.

“I went up to Washington D.C. for the in-person audition in May and got a phone call from L.A. that I was fortunately selected to be on the show right after Thanksgiving,” Greer said.

According to Greer, being on the show wasn’t as nerve-wracking as one might suppose ... but that’s only because it goes too quickly to be nervous.

“When you’re actually on stage with the lights on and the questions being read, it goes so quickly you don’t have time to really realize how nervous you are,” he said.

“And [the contestants] talked about afterward how we don’t really remember the time on the show during the rounds. None of us could really recall many of the questions, even the ones we’d got right or got wrong, just because of how focused you are and how quickly it goes,” he added.

Competition during the game didn’t mean contestants didn’t get along.

“We all got along really well, and we’d sit in the green room together and talk about how painful it was to be waiting for something that was so imminent but that we’d always wanted to be a part of.

“Being on the show was kind of surreal. It’s kind of made it difficult to watch on TV now, having seen it on the other side,” Greer said.

Greer’s quarterfinal will air Monday, Feb. 6.

He said preparing for the show was difficult since he didn’t know what any of the categories might be.

“When I was home for Christmas break, my parents quizzed me a little and we started watching the show ... so I could look at how the people acted on camera so as to not make a fool of myself and try to get the buzzer timing down,” Greer joked.

While he might have been familiar with categories such as geology or history, Greer said the arts gave him pause.

“I felt I was pretty unsure on music, opera, art, so I bought this intro book on that kind of stuff and sort of boned up on it. It didn’t do me any good, but it was a way to feel like I was doing something,” he laughed.

Greer is a senior at Duke University, majoring in civil and environmental engineering. After graduation, he hopes to attend law school.


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