Buffalo native talks representing hometown as contestant on Jeopardy!, Trebek’s passing

Buffalo

(WIVB)–In spite of the sad news that Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away over the weekend, the game show is moving forward with this week’s scheduled episodes.

This includes one airing tomorrow featuring a Buffalo native.

Growing up in North Buffalo, Melissa Givens always watched Jeopardy! with her family.

“I have always loved quiz shows and random trivia, and if there’s a weird question people always ask me what it is. My mother calls me the mistress of minutiae,” Givens said.

Which is why, after some convincing from her nieces and mother, she decided to tryout for the show.

“I have a friend who was on Jeopardy! Several years ago, and I think every year when the national test is announced he posts it on Facebook and I just happened to see it,” Givens told us.

Givens, who now lives in California where she is a professor, took the test and didn’t think anything of it. A few months later, she got a call asking her to go through the qualification process.

“So I just kind of sat back and expected not to hear from them and then two weeks later I got the call asking for me to record,” Givens added.

She says the experience was surreal, but she’s thrilled to be able to represent the Queen City on the popular quiz show.

“Jeopardy’s kind of got a cultural cachet and to know somebody, or to know somebody who knows somebody who has been on jeopardy is apparently a thing so I’m enjoying it, I’m enjoying the ride.”

And no matter what the outcome ends up being, Givens says she’s proud.

“Jeopardy! is my favorite game show, and just the idea of being on it – I didn’t care what happened, I wanted to go there, I wanted to have fun, I wanted to enjoy the day and see what happened.”

We spoke to Givens before the death of the beloved host, Alex Trebek.

In a statement, she said:

“It’s difficult to imagine the show without Trebek and being chosen to be a Jeopardy! contestant will remain one of the high points of my life. Being among Alex Trebek’s last contestants is a deeply bittersweet honor.”

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